Retired Sergeant Major Gordon Allen Senior can now be called a war hero.
"It's just been a privilege to be able to be a friend of his. I'll tell you. There's one thing he's never talked about, and that's what happened to him over 50 years ago," Col. Joe Spraggins said.
But Saturday, Allen did say a few words about that experience.
"Back in those days we didn't stay, but three weeks to four weeks they would relieve us with other countries. The British were relieving me that day," said Allen.
A shell hit the fox hole shortly after the British officer arrived to take Allen's place. The shell instantly killed the British officer and Allen suffered several injuries. He was evacuated by helicopter to a local mash unit.
In recognition of his injuries during that incident, Saturday, in front of fellow Air National Sergeant Majors, friends and family, the purple heart was pinned to Allen's chest.
"Our country is on the brink of hostilities," Maj. Gen James Lipscomb of the Mississippi National Guard said.
Ironically the 3rd infantry division, which Allen was a part of in Korea, is deploying now to the middle east.
"I'm sure in that division that they're are brave young men just as Sergeant Major Allen was in Korea," Lipscomb said.
"We stand on the eve of another war in our nation," Ken Combs said.
Gulfport mayor Ken Combs says the great things about America are soldiers like Gordon Allen, who fought for our freedom, just like they're about to do again in Iraq.
"I urge all of us to get behind our president our military and lets go over there and do what we got to do and kick Sadaam right in the you know what," Combs said.
"Would you join me in rendering a salute if you're in uniform to all who gave some, some who gave all. Present," a ceremony announcer said.
Allen, who is a lifelong resident of Gulfport, opened Allen Plumbing company when he came back from the war. He still works there today. Allen is 74 years old, married, with four children.