Kniss, a Cheyenne resident who now sports a long white beard and walks with a cane, said it was his own fault he didn't receive the medals decades ago.
"We have a true American hero in our midst," Col. Tracey Hayes, commander of the 90th Missile Wing at Warren Air Force Base, said during Thursday's ceremony.
Living in the camp was a horrible mix of monotony, boredom and fear.
Kniss was injured when he jumped from his Nike Cortez Chris Brown aircraft 61 years ago and was imprisoned for 18 months in a North Korean camp. He told reporters after Thursday's ceremony that when he and the other prisoners of war were repatriated, there were two lines. One was Nike Cortez Womens Amazon
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one of four brothers who served in the war.
Kniss said 1,200 pilots went down over North Korea and only 200 made it home.
for paperwork and the other was to go home. Kniss said he took the second line because he wanted to go home and see his wife.
He noted that Americans were served rice and fried onions in the morning and rice and fried cabbage at night in the prisoner of war camp. Kniss said his weight dropped from 180 to 110 pounds and he suffered from dysentery.
Wyoming Korean War vet Paul Kniss finally receives his medals
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"You didn't want to look like John Wayne because they'd shoot you. You didn't want to look scared because they'd shoot you. So I tried to look like a turnip," he said. "That was my attitude all along: Do nothing. Passionate views, pointed criticism and critical thinking are welcome. Name calling, crude language and personal abuse are not welcome. Moderators will monitor comments with an eye toward maintaining a high level of civility in this forum. Our comment policy explains the rules of the road for registered commenters.
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He said he also will wear the medals "for too many friends I left up north. We lost a lot of men."
He also knew his mother was worried about him.
Air Force officials couldn't explain what prompted the awarding of Kniss' medals now.
Kniss also served on a Navy destroyer escort in the Pacific during World War II.
CHEYENNE Sixty one years after his P 51 Mustang was shot down over North Korea, former Air Force Lt. Paul Kniss received two medals and numerous standing ovations from approximately 400 airmen on Thursday. Warren Air Force Base theater, the 86 year old veteran of World War II and the Korean War received the Purple Heart and Prisoner of War medals.
"My biggest problem was not showing fear," he said.
In response, Kniss said, "I don't deserve it. I have good friends that gave it all the way."
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Kniss said he will wear the medals in honor of his brother who died in WWII Cortez Forrest Gump Ebay
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