Posthumous Purple Heart Award for NC Man
The award will be presented to his servicemember's widow on Sunday.
FORT BRAGG, N.C. - The Purple Heart medal will be presented to Mrs. Janet B.
Dixon, the widow of Emerson R. Dixon, at the First Baptist Church of Garner
during the 10:30 a.m. service Sunday, July 1.
Col. Richard G. Kaiser, Deputy Chief of Staff for the XVIII Airborne Corps
and Fort Bragg, is presenting the medal to Mrs. Dixon and her daughter,
Cynthia, in front of their family and friends at their church.
Mr. Dixon died earlier this year Feb. 13, at the age of 83. Although his
Army service was known to his family and friends, many never knew he was
wounded in action during the Korean conflict.
Then, Pfc. Dixon was a Mount Olive native, assigned to D. Co., 7th Cav.
Regt. 1st Cav. Div. on Oct. 5, 1951, when his throat was injured by
shrapnel, causing permanent damage to his vocal cords and nerves in his
tongue. It was his soft-spoken nature that his fellow parishioner, William
Ray Dunlap, recalled when speaking to his widow following his death.
Mrs. Dixon explained that her husband's quiet tone was owed in large part to
his war injuries in addition to his trademark humility. Dunlap, a retired
Army Command Sgt. Maj. himself, learned from their conversation that Dixon
never received his Purple Heart because he was told his records were
destroyed in a fire.
On July 12, 1973, a fire broke out at the National Personnel Records Center
in St. Louis, burning an estimated 80% of Army and 75% of Air Force
personnel files that had never been duplicated or preserved on microfiche.
When Dixon tried to apply for his medal, he was told that his records were
Fast forward to February 2012, when a former noncommissioned officer,
Dunlap, heard the story and promptly sought to rectify this tragedy. Dunlap
began researching and making phone calls, piecing together historical
documents with the help of the Korean War Project based in Dallas.
With the supporting documents that included medical records, Red Cross
messages, and hometown news releases, Dunlap submitted a DD Form 149 to the Department of the Army to have former Army Cpl. Dixon's military record corrected to annotate his awarding of the Purple Heart, which was officially added to his discharge certificate this year on April 16. He was discharged from the Army as an infantryman Oct. 8, 1952.