Man Charged with Unlawfully Wearing Medal of Honor

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- A 56-year-old Milwaukee man faces a charge of unlawfully wearing the Medal of Honor, the nation's highest award for valor.

But Terry Powell insists he's a recipient of the medal, and says he'd be willing to take a lie detector test.

Court documents says he's spoken to veterans' groups and at public gatherings while wearing a Medal of Honor that he said he received for heroic actions during the Vietnam War.

A federal search warrant says he told veterans in May that he received it for combat in Vietnam and gave a similar story to a Memorial Day crowd at Dousman.

The warrant says he told Waukesha County sheriff's detectives in June he was a cook on the destroyer USS O'Hara and nursed several sailors sickened by food poisoning back to health.

He allegedly showed the detectives a Medal of Honor certificate he says he received from former President Nixon in 1972, signed by Navy Secretary John Chaffee.

But the warrant says the O'Hara was a transport ship decommissioned in 1961, and Chaffee wasn't secretary of the Navy during the summer of 1972.

Powell says he lost the original certificate concerning the medal when his basement was flooded.