Five to be honored Thursday

Five veterans will be awarded medals Thursday by U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden during a special ceremony at Abraham Lincoln Elementary School, 3101 McLoughlin Drive, Medford.

The event begins at 12:30 p.m. immediately before Wyden's annual town hall meeting, which also will be held at the school. Wyden holds town halls in each of Oregon's 36 counties every year.

Two women, Lois "Kay" Chaffey of Medford and Catherine Murphy of Jacksonville, will be awarded the Congressional Gold Medal for their service in the Women's Airforce Service Pilots. Known as WASPs, they were among some 1,000 women pilots who flew military planes from factories to military bases during World War II.

They were not recognized for their military service until Congress authorized the medal earlier this year. About 300 WASPs are still alive.

Medford resident Donald Graham, a retired Army officer, will receive 18 medals, including a Silver Star with one bronze oak cluster, a Bronze Star with one bronze oak leaf cluster with "V" device, Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal with four bronze service stars, Armed Forces Reserve Medal, Combat Infantryman Badge, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Ribbon with device, Expert Badge with pistol bar, Sharpshooter badge with machine gun bar, Marksman badge with rifle bar, Parachutist badge, Army Aviator Basic Badge, Korea Defense Service Medal and Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with palm unit citation.

Others receiving awards include Army veteran William S. Phillips of Ashland, who will receive medals including the Purple Heart, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Small Arms Expert ribbon and Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with palm; and Navy veteran James Baird of Phoenix, who will receive awards including the Navy Good Conduct, National Defense Service Medal and Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal with one bronze star.

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