Congressman Luke Messer presents award to decorated local veteran
(Shelbyville, IN)—Congressman Luke Messer presented Luther E. Rice Jr. with the Civilian Marksmanship Program’s (CMP) Patriot Award on August 27th at his congressional district office in Shelbyville.
The Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) is a national organization dedicated to training and educating American citizens on responsible uses of firearms and air guns through gun safety training, marksmanship training and competitions. The CMP is a federally chartered 501(c)(3) corporation that places its highest priority on serving youth through gun safety and marksmanship activities that encourage personal growth and build life skills.
CMP history goes back to late 19th century efforts by U.S. military and political leaders to strengthen our country’s national defense capabilities by improving the rifle marksmanship skills of members of the Armed Forces. The CMP traces its direct lineage to 1903 when Congress and President Theodore Roosevelt established the National Board for the Promotion of Rifle Practice (NBPRP) and the National Matches. From then until 1996, first the Department of War and later the Department of the Army managed the program that became known as the “civilian marksmanship program.” In 1996, Congress acted again to establish the Corporation for the Promotion of Rifle Practice and Firearm Safety that now governs the CMP. The CMP actively assists the mission of our armed services. As such, the organization created the Patriots Program, where outstanding citizens are recognized for their contributions to our country.
In June of 1948, following graduation from Aurora High School at age 17, Mr. Rice enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. Included among his personal military decorations and awards are the:
Bronze Star Medal w/combat “V”; Navy Achievement Medal, Presidential Unit Citation; Navy Unit Citation w/1*; Combat Action Ribbon; Good Conduct Medal w/4*; Korean Service Medal w/2*, National Defense Service Medal w/1*; United Nations Service Medal; Korean Presidential Unit Citation; Vietnam Service Medal w/5*; Vietnam Campaign Medal w/Device; Meritorious Unit Commendation w/1*; and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry w/Palm.
Mr. Rice returned to civilian life in 1971; he taught vocational education at the secondary level and was subsequently appointed school principal—a position held at the time of his retirement in 1992. In 1991 he was appointed to the position of Judge of Aurora City Court by Indiana Governor Evan Bayh. He was then elected and reelected as Judge and remained in office until August 1997.
He currently volunteers with various not-for-profit veteran service organizations, which include: the Disabled American Veterans, Korean War Veterans Association, American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars. He has been a volunteer for sixteen years at Dearborn County Hospital and has served as President of the Dearborn County Hospital Community Foundation.
“It is an honor to present this award to such an accomplished citizen who has contributed so much to our community and this country,” Messer said.
The Patriot Award is represented by the presentation of an actual M1 Garand rifle. Congressman Messer presented the rifle to Mr. Rice along with J.B. Hudson and Scott Maddox of the CMP.