Jay David Medlen, of Vass, died died Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020, at FirstHealth Hospice House, Pinehurst.
Jay David Medlen was born June 6, 1938, in Fort Smith, Ark. He was born on the sixth day of the sixth month at 6 a.m. and weighed 6 pounds and 6 ounces; his sixth birthday was on D-Day.
In June 1960, Jay graduated from the University of Arkansas and was commissioned from the U.S. Army Reserve Officer Training Corps. From 1961 to 1965, Jay was assigned to 7th Army, Federal Republic of Germany. In 1967 to 1968, he was stationed in the Republic of Vietnam and was attached to the 101st ABN DIV, for the defense of Saigon during the TET offensive of 1968.
In June 1969 Jay married the love of his life, Joyce Aileen Reece, at JFK Chapel, Fort Bragg. Jay then took command of the 1st PSYOP Battalion, 2nd PSYOP Group, which was the active Component PSYOP Group at Fort Bragg at that time and 4th PSYOP Group was deployed to Vietnam.
From 1970 to 1971, Jay was assigned to his second tour in Vietnam with the 101st Airborne Division. Jay returned to Fort Bragg in 1971 and was assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division until 1972 when he was accepted for Special Forces training. His next assignment was with the U.S. Army JFK Center for Military Assistance and 7th Special Forces Group (A). In 1976, Jay and Joyce were transferred to Ethiopia, where Jay served on the Military Advisory Group until a political coup forced a non-combatant evacuation operation, and they were forced to leave the country.
His next assignment was back to Germany to Special Operations Command Europe, where he served from 1977 until he retired in November of 1980 as a lieutenant colonel. He then took a DA Civilian position with 4th PSYOP Group as an operations planner for U.S. Army Special Operations Command. Jay was at USASOC Operations Center when it stood up for Desert Storm in 1990. Initially it had one telephone and an easel from which to brief the CG.
Jay retired from his civilian position in 2004, after 42 years of active federal service. Jay and his wife, Joyce, enjoyed the outdoors together, whether it was walking the dogs, hunting or attending a National Sporting Clays Association event; Jay was a FITASC judge and Joyce was the shooter. After 47 years of marriage, Joyce passed away Nov. 9, 2014. Jay has a very kind and gentle soul known by many people throughout North Carolina and South Carolina.
His military awards and decorations include: Legion of Merit, Bronze Star with Oak Leaf Cluster, Army Commendation Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters, Air Medal fifth award, Southeast Asia Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Reserve Medal with silver hourglass device, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal with 60 device, and Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm.
A private memorial service for both he and his wife, Joyce, will be held Friday, Oct. 16, at JFK Chapel on the post of Fort Bragg. Burial, with Masonic rites and military honors will follow at Sandhills State Veterans Cemetery.
Online condolences may be made at www.bolesfuneralhome.com.
Services entrusted to Boles Funeral Home of Southern Pines.