Medals given to local man for time captured on ship
Steven Woelk, Tonganoxie, received awards on Feb. 28 that he had earned more than 30 years ago.
In 1968, Woelk was a firefighter on the USS Pueblo when the North Koreans captured it. He was injured by shrapnel immediately before the ship was taken over and, to his knowledge, he was the last serviceman to be taken off the ship. Along with his shipmates, Woelk was held in captivity for 11 months.
At a Fort Leavenworth ceremony last week, U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback presented to Woelk two Navy Commendation medals with "V" for valor, two Purple Hearts, the POW medal, the Armed Forces Expeditionary medal, the Combat Action ribbon and the National Defense medal.
Woelk said he had received some of the medals in the past, two of those at official ceremonies.
"They re-issued all of them to me," he said of the Fort Leavenworth ceremony.
Woelk, who was raised in Alta Vista, said his wife, Kathleen, and their son, Kelly, attended the ceremony. The Woelks have lived in Leavenworth County since 1986.