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So where is the 'real' Medal of Honor?

Started by emccomas , May 19 2017 10:49 AM

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#1 emccomas

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 10:49 AM

1LT Donald  J. Gott, United States Army Air Corps, was awarded the Medal of Honor for action on November 9, 1944.  The award of the Medal of Honor was made on May 16, 1945.

 

As you may expect, the Gott Medal of Honor was a WWII vintage medal.

 

The Gott medals (MOH, Purple Heart, Air Medal, see pic below) were on display in Oklahoma until early 2016.  These medals then showed up on Ebay in Great Britain in March of 2016.

 

The seller (a subject of the UK) was contacted by the FBI, etc., etc. about these medals.  The seller then pulled the ad, and stated at that time that "the family" was just looking for a fair offer, and he also stated that the family would be traveling to Europe that summer.

 

The next we hear about the Gott Medal of Honor is when there is a official unveiling ceremony of the Donald J. Gott Medal of Honor Exhibit at "The Plains Indian & Pioneers Museum" in Woodward, OK on Dec 1, 2016.  EXCEPT, the Medal of Honor unveiled at that time is a current issue replacement medal (see pic below).

 

Here is a link to the article about the unveiling of the Gott MOH.

 

https://www.google.c...1szLCLbO8ScmNcg

 

So the 64 thousand question is:  What happened to the original Gott Medal or Honor (and the associated Purple Heart and Air Medal)?

 

Did they also take a trip to Europe in the summer of 2016.  Perhaps a one way trip.

 

Inquiring minds....

Attached Images

  • gott1.jpg
  • gott2.jpg


#2 LuftStalg1

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 11:07 AM

And in the opening remarks she mentions the "heartbreak over the lose of the original medal".   Makes you wonder!?  Maybe got an offer AND a replacement to put on display.  Gives me a sick to my stomach feeling.  : (



#3 Blacksmith

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 11:31 AM

And that's the reality of legislation criminalizing the sale of US medals. I feel pretty confident saying, in the absence of such legislation, these medals would still be in the US.

I have / had the privilege of knowing a couple of WWII MOH recipients personally. These folks grew up in a time where you left your car keys in the ignition to keep from losing them, and never locked your house. One of the Army recipients I knew (passed now), let a 'trusted friend' in his man cave from time to time. On one such visit, the 'friend' (schmuck) switched the veteran's original MOH with a modern issue example, and successfully made off with the original. In time, the family noticed it, figured out what happened, and got the original back - via law enforcement channels.

Really pretty gross, the stuff people will do.

#4 cutiger83

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 11:46 AM

We can not jump to conclusions and start blaming the family or anyone else involved with this medal. We do not know and may never know the full story. Everything is pure conjecture. 

 

...Kat



#5 emccomas

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 11:55 AM

We can not jump to conclusions and start blaming the family or anyone else involved with this medal. We do not know and may never know the full story. Everything is pure conjecture. 

 

...Kat

 

Kat;

 

I agree with you in principal, but we do have solid evidence that "the family" (whatever that means in this case) tried to sell these medals overseas in March of 2016.

 

It seems to me that we now have motive, opportunity, and intent on the part of "the family".  I am NOT a criminal lawyer (or a lawyer period), but from a layman perspective, that is what I see.

 

I am not faulting the family, and I have no issue with whatever MAY have happened to these medals.  I am just pointing out that yet another historically significant medal set "appears" to have disappeared from sight.


Edited by emccomas, 19 May 2017 - 11:56 AM.


#6 cutiger83

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 12:02 PM

 

Kat;

 

I agree with you in principal, but we do have solid evidence that "the family" (whatever that means in this case) tried to sell these medals overseas in March of 2016.

 

It seems to me that we now have motive, opportunity, and intent on the part of "the family".  I am NOT a criminal lawyer (or a lawyer period), but from a layman perspective, that is what I see.

 

I am not faulting the family, and I have no issue with whatever MAY have happened to these medals.  I am just pointing out that yet another historically significant medal set "appears" to have disappeared from sight.

 

 

I agree with you. I was just speaking to the question about "what happened to the original medal" not to the part about the family trying to sell the medal.  

 

...Kat



#7 Dave

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 12:17 PM

First: a warning. Let's not turn this into a torches and pitchforks conversation, please.

 

Second: in e-mailing with the fellow in the UK that had them, he turned them over to an official from the US Embassy. I'm not sure if anyone knows what happened to that point (at least any of us collectors).

 

Dave



#8 cutiger83

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 12:39 PM

 in e-mailing with the fellow in the UK that had them, he turned them over to an official from the US Embassy. I'm not sure if anyone knows what happened to that point (at least any of us collectors).

 

Dave

 

 

Dave, 

 

Makes sense but interesting that it was turned over to the US Embassy. Are there any pictures of the original medal prior to going overseas to compare with the pictures above? Are there any pictures of the listing in the UK to compare as well? 

 

...Kat



#9 Dave

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 01:30 PM

 

 

Dave, 

 

Makes sense but interesting that it was turned over to the US Embassy. Are there any pictures of the original medal prior to going overseas to compare with the pictures above? Are there any pictures of the listing in the UK to compare as well? 

 

...Kat

 

I don't know of any photos of the medal before it was shipped overseas, but I have around forty of them when it was in the UK in addition to those from the auction (the second photo Ed posted).

 

Dave



#10 doyler

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 02:28 PM

Just a dumb question but those more versed in the medal and its legalities may be able to answer this:

If it was in England and its not illegal to sell it there why was it turned over to the Embassy?

Just curious.

#11 Dave

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 02:38 PM

Just a dumb question but those more versed in the medal and its legalities may be able to answer this:

If it was in England and its not illegal to sell it there why was it turned over to the Embassy?

Just curious.


Because the actual owner was from the US and was trying to use a U.K.-based surrogate to sell it.

#12 doyler

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 02:43 PM

Thankyou Dave

Was thinking that was the case but just wanted to ask

Edited by doyler, 19 May 2017 - 02:43 PM.


#13 LuftStalg1

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 03:11 PM

Well as the US Embassy is considered US soil it would be my opinion that it went into the hands of the US Government and presto!  They may just as well have handed them over to the FBI.  The government "lost" them and replaced them with shiny new ones to donate to the museum.  And since they have ZERO value there is no case for restitution, just replacements.  Could be a tough lesson learned on trying to get around the law.

 

Now there with the "Arch of the covenant" in that damn government warehouse!  : (

 

My cousin brought a bunch of military relics back from the Philippines.  His dad was stationed there with the AF in the late 60’s and 70’s.  Years later in California the Feds came into his apartment to set up “cover” during some sort of bank robbery/hostage or something like that.  They saw his collection and took it all.   After a lengthy expensive court battle, which he won, most of it had been “lost” or “misplaced” and he never got it back.  I remember something about glass and pottery hand grenades and such.  And how crazy dangerous it was “recovering” that stuff from the jungle.  It’s been decades since he told me the story and he’s gone now so don’t beat me up on accuracy and word selection.

 

Like I said before it just gives me that sick to my stomach feeling.  It's just sad all around!



#14 aerialbridge

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 03:59 PM

It is sad all around.  That a family (or anyone else) wanting to sell any medal they legally own for whatever reason is deemed a criminal for the ones who knock to confiscate their property.  Seriously, in the ball of confusion we live in that's something they need to do?   Where is it now?  Maybe like the old scam of "let me clean your medals and re-ribbon them".    Which has happened with at least one government collection as well as private ones.  



#15 Bob Hudson

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 04:56 PM

The FBI probably destroyed it to save it, which is pretty much the net effect of the MOH laws.



#16 emccomas

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Posted 20 May 2017 - 09:17 AM

First: a warning. Let's not turn this into a torches and pitchforks conversation, please.

 

Second: in e-mailing with the fellow in the UK that had them, he turned them over to an official from the US Embassy. I'm not sure if anyone knows what happened to that point (at least any of us collectors).

 

Dave

 

Dave;

 

That is very interesting.  I would think the government would be "reluctant" to return them to the family at this point.

 

I am most puzzled by the Dec 1, 2016 unveiling ceremony with a replacement medal.

 

The family was involved in the ceremony, so I assumed (yes, I know what assume means) that the family provided the medal  My thinking is that if the family did not get the original medals back, they would not have initiated this donation effort and ceremony.

 

I mean if the government had kept the originals, I would expect the family to be raising hell to get them back, not donating a replacement medal for display.

 

The only way it makes sense to me for the family to donate the replacement medal is if they got the originals back.

 

I would also expect that if / when the family got the originals back, it came with a stern warning from government officials about the consequences of selling a Medal of Honor.  Under those circumstances, I am not sure any reasonable person would try and put them back on the market anytime soon.

 

I am hoping that the family got them back, and has now decided to keep them with the idea of donating them to an appropriate museum at some point.

 

OK, that's all I got.

 

Have a great weekend ya'll.

 

Ed



#17 Dave

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Posted 20 May 2017 - 09:21 AM

Unfortunately, the whole situation from original purchase to attempted sale, to return to the US authorities, and finally, returning to "display" was kept pretty firmly close to the chest by everyone involved, and included many different parties who were not in contact with one another. I really doubt any of us or them know the full story of what transpired. With so many unknown factors, I'm content to let the whole situation "go" and not spend time thinking about it...there are far too many things we'll never know that would make it a complete story. 




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