CRANSTON, RI – Edward W. Leeming, a 89 year-old North Kingstown native, was just 17 when he joined the U.S. Army in 1949 and deployed to Korea the following year.


On November 30, 1950, U.S. Army Private First Class Leeming was wounded by enemy fire while serving with the 38th Infantry Regiment in the Koran War.  His severe injuries sent him home from the war in need of several leg operations.  And he never received the military medals and decorations he earned, until now.


Today, nearly seventy-two years after Private Leeling was injured in battle, U.S. Senator Jack Reed hosted a special medal ceremony at the Cranston Public Library to honor Mr. Leeming and present him with the Purple Heart with one bronze oak leaf cluster [], along with the Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Korean Service Medal with 3 bronze service stars, Combat Infantry Badge 1st award, and United Nations Service Medal.


“I am honored to present Mr. Leeming with the Purple Heart and other military honors he earned.  These are but a small token of our enduring gratitude and respect for the service he rendered on behalf of our nation.  I join all Rhode Islanders in thanking Mr. Leeming, his family, and all our Korean War veterans for their uncommon courage and extraordinary sacrifices,“ said Senator Reed, a fellow Army veteran and Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.


The Purple Heart is the oldest U.S. military combat distinction soldiers still receive and is awarded to uniformed personnel who were wounded or killed in combat.


Often referred to as the ‘Forgotten War,’ Senator Reed says Americans must never forget the more than 36,000 American service personnel who were killed and 103,000 who were wounded during the Korean War (June 25, 1950 to July 27, 1953), as well as those who went missing in action in the fight to free South Korea from the China-backed North Koreans.


After coming home from the war, Edward Leeming met Hilda Allen Conley and they were married on December 12, 1953.  They were married for 42 years before Hilda passed away. During those years they had seven children, and now have 11 grandchildren, and 15 great-grandchildren.


Mr. Leeming worked for thirty years in the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT), at the Point Judith garage and North Kingstown garage.