LOST MEDALS OF WORLD WAR II MARINE RETURNED TO FAMILY DURING KENTUCKY STATE CAPITOL ROTUNDA CEREMONY

Lost Medals of WWII Marine Returned to Family 2013

Frankfort, Kentucky; August 29, 2013: Among the statuary shadows of great Kentuckians within the rotunda of the Kentucky State Capitol, the World War II medals, rank insignia, uniform accoutrements, and other items reflective of a career of great accomplishment, both as a Marine and as a civilian, were returned to the family of the late LtCol Roy H. Owsley, USMC (Ret) by Todd Hollenbach, IV, Kentucky State Treasurer. As the official repository of all lost and abandoned bank safe deposit box property, the Kentucky State Treasurer and his staff have taken an aggressive and proactive approach to finding and reuniting Kentucky families with their unclaimed valuables, such as military items, which are not just part of a veteran's own life history, but also part of his or her family's proud legacy.  It was through the efforts of the Kentucky State Treasurer that the personal military and civilian items of a gentleman, who went above and beyond in every aspect of his life, in bettering his commonwealth, country, and global community, were returned to the Owsley family. In May 1942, Roy Owsley stood with the hundreds of thousands, now known as “The Greatest Generation,” to protect our country, leaving his position with the American Municipal Association in Washington D.C. to join the United States Marine Corps as a first lieutenant.  LtCol Owsley served in the Asiatic - Pacific Theater (1943-1945), and as a major and aide to the legendary Gen Roy S. Geiger, USMC, was among the official United States representatives aboard the USS Missouri on September 2, 1945, where he witnessed the signing of the surrender of Japan. In the days leading up to this significant world event, LtCol Owsley was instrumental in negotiating the unconditional surrender of the Japanese Empire. LtCol Owsley went on to assist the Philippines in establishing their system of government following their liberation from Japan, significantly contributing to the Filipino central government and local government relationship. For his Marine Corps service (1942-1958), LtCol Owsley was twice awarded the Legion of Merit medal for "exceptional meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services to the Government of the United States." After returning to civilian life, LtCol Owsley served as advisor to four Kentucky governors and was appointed the first chairman of the Kentucky Authority for Educational Television and his involvement was a cornerstone in the creation of Kentucky Education Television (KET), while serving his Louisville, Kentucky community many years, as its city manager. Participating in the ceremony as the keynote speaker was MajGen Robert S. Silverthorn, USA (Ret), whose grandfather, LtGen Merwin H. Silverthorn, USMC, a Navy Cross recipient, served as 3rd Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps. Legion of Merit medals earned during World War II by LtCol Owsley were returned to his three (3) children by Maj Scott E. Stephan, USMC, Commanding Officer, Marine Corps Recruiting Station Louisville. Marine Corps veterans, including a contingent from local Marine Corps League detachments, were present to witness this unique and memorable ceremony. Logistical and administrative support was rendered to the Kentucky State Treasury by the Marine Corps Coordinating Council of Kentucky (MCCCK). (Photograph by Ed Armento, Secretary, MCCCK)