The evidence of Mike Pomeroy’s military heroics, including a Purple Heart, were locked away for almost 50 years inside a briefcase in the back of his closet. He earned one of those medals by risking his life to save two others.
His wife didn’t know they existed. Neither did his son. Pomeroy was planning to give it to his grandsons.
“Hasn’t been opened hardly in 50 years. They’ve never seen it,” Pomeroy told Fox 40. “It’s not something you talk about. One day, you’d be able to tell them, but...”
Now, he’s forced to share the story. During the Oroville Dam spillway emergency on Sunday, Pomeroy and his wife, Gaylene Pomeroy, evacuated their home in Yuba City as directed. When their son came by to check on their house the next day, the front door was wide open and their bedroom had been ransacked.
The thief took Gaylene Pomeroy’s jewelry, as well as family heirlooms and a laptop. But it was Mike Pomeroy’s missing medals that really hurt.
“I don’t know why someone would want to take that from somebody – take a part of their life away,” Gaylene Pomeroy told KCRA.
Pomeroy was drafted in 1967 when he was 19 years old to serve as an army medic for 21 months in the Vietnam War. He earned the Purple Heart when a mortar exploded just feet away from him, sending shrapnel into his arm, according to KCRA. It happened when his air ambulance responded to a military aircraft in enemy territory, and he got onto the ground to save two airman from the burning wreckage, according to Fox 40.
“The people that stole them, I don’t know why they took them, they’re nothing to them,” Mike Pomeroy said. “They were really a traumatic part of my life, and I know I didn’t stand around to get them.”
The thief left the certificates that authenticate the medals and Mike Pomeroy’s commander’s explanation on why he earned the Purple Heart. The Pomeroys are hoping the thief will have a change of heart and bring the medals back.
“They were irreplaceable,” Mike Pomeroy said. “They were meant to be passed on.”