Piecing together war medal mystery

A Vietnam veteran from Traverse City found a shadow box full of war medals in a pawn shop and has now made it his mission to find the veteran it belongs to.

James Vollink, who served in Vietnam as a Navy Corpsman with the 3rd Marine Division, was at a pawn shop in Warwick, New Jersey and saw the medals. Vollink said the thought of some young person purchasing the medals and wearing them was more than he could take, so he bought the shadow box for $100. He is now searching for its rightful owner with the help of some northern Michigan veteran groups.

Neal Horning, Commander of the American Legion & Auxiliary Bowen-Holliday Post 35 Traverse City said the medals inside the shadow box tell a story of a military career.

"The fella has seen combat, according to the medals. He has a Bronze Star, two Purple Hearts, is an expert rifleman and an expert in pistol shooting. We also know he was a Sergeant in the Marines, 3rd Division Recon Battalion," explained Horning.

Many times there is a name on the back of military medals, but Horning said during Vietnam names were not put on them. If someone knows who the medals could belong to, they are asked to contact the American Legion Hall at 231-922-2119.