Nov. 11, 2014 • Korean War veteran shares his Bronze Star, Purple Heart

Jack Pettitt, a Purple Heart and Bronze Star recipient, was born Nov. 10, 1932 in Phoenix Arizona. Pettitt enlisted in the U.S. Army on Sept 18, 1947. He was so eager to join up that he falsified his age, so actually he was not yet 15 years old at the time he enlisted.

Korean War veteran Jack Pettitt, of Herlong, displays the Purple Heart and Bronze Star he was awarded during his military career. Pettitt fibbed about his age (he was 15 at the time) in order to join the Army and serve in 1951. He was wounded twice in Korea and received two Purple Hearts.

The Korean War began in June 1950, and in 1951 Pettitt found himself in Korea where he was wounded twice. On Feb. 21, 1951, Pettitt was with his unit up on a mountain somewhere in Korea.

“The guys to left of us were in a shootout,” Pettitt said. “We were told to go down the hill to see what was on the other side. We were outnumbered by North Koreans. I got shot in the left knee across the knee cap.”

Then less than a month later, Pettitt was wounded again.

Korean War veteran Jack Pettitt earned a number of medals while serving in the U.S. Army.

“I was point man and leading 20 or 30 guys up a hill. When we reached a flat on the hill, all hell broke loose. I was flat on the ground. We were under artillery fire. After the artillery barrage, I got up and started shooting. Then I got hit in the back and shoulder. When I came to, I got up and walked down the hill.”

For his bravery and injuries Pettitt was awarded two Purple Hearts and the Bronze Star. He moved to Lassen County upon completion of his military service in 1951 where he went to work at Sierra Army Depot as a telephone man.

He met his wife Barbara at the skating rink in Herlong. They were married in 1956 and remained married for 58 years. Barbara passed away Sept. 11, 2014.

Korean War veteran Jack Pettitt earned a number of medals while serving in the U.S. Army.

Pettit also served one year in Vietnam as a civilian, working for the communications command from 1967-1968. He retired from civil service at the depot after 41 years of service in 1992.