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Korean War veteran receives surprise from grandson

Kenneth Murphy, a Korean War veteran, visited the 153rd Airlift Wing Dec. 3, to attend a ceremony thought to be in honor of his grandson, Tech. Sgt. Bryce Bishop, 187th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron.

The room was filled with Murphy’s children, grandchildren and great- grandchildren. Little did he know, the ceremony was not for his grandson, but to honor his own military service during the Korean War.

“Today, we are here to give an award,” Bishop said. “It’s not an award for someone who is currently wearing a uniform; it’s an award for someone who used to wear a uniform.”

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Bryce Bishop and his grandfather, Kenneth Murphy, hold a picture of the USS Haverson (DE), Dec. 3, 2016 at Cheyenne Air National Guard base in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Murphy was awarded the Ambassador for Peace Medal for his service as a U.S. Navy gunners mate during the Korean War. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. John Galvin/released)

Murphy was then asked to join his grandson at the front of the room, where he was presented with the Ambassador for Peace Medal. This commemorative medal is presented by the Korean government to express gratitude towards the American service men and women who served in the Korean War.

“In more than 60 years, my grandfather never spoke about his service,” Bishop said. “After my four deployments, I sat down with him and asked ‘weren’t you in the Navy?’ He said yeah and we proceeded to talk for a long time about what he did and the experiences he had. I was blown away because no one in my family had ever been able to get that out of him.”

After his grandfather opened up to him, Bishop wanted to find a way to honor him. Through a story in a newspaper, Bishop learned about the Ambassador for Peace Medal and decided to give it a shot.

Several weeks later, Bishop received the award and decided the best way to honor his grandfather was to hold a ceremony at his personal unit.

“For every man and woman in this room, you are their hero and granddad, you’re my hero,” Bishop said.

The ceremony was a surprise for Kenneth and he was overwhelmed with gratitude. While Kenneth’s military service was a short three years, receiving the Ambassador for Peace Medal was an appropriate way to show the sacrifices he made were not only appreciated by the Republic of Korea, but also by the service members who have come after him.