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Death of a famous old warrior

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SOF joins James Garner fans everywhere in saying goodby to an old warrior. He charmed us for years. On the screen, he played a charming rogue. He perfected roles of courageous heroes and was one of America's favorite cowboys.

What may be not as well known is his military service. He served in the the National Guard for seven months stateside. He then went active and was stationed to Korea for 14 months in the Army, serving in the 5th Regimental Combat Team in the Korean War. He was wounded twice, first in the face and hand from shrapnel fire from a mortar round, and second on April 23, 1951, in the buttocks from friendly fire from U.S. fighter jets as he dove headfirst into a foxhole. Garner was awarded the Purple Heart in Korea for the first injury. His second Purple Heart was finally awarded in Garner in 1983, 32 years after his injury. Garner was a self-described "scrounger" for his company in Korea. He perfected that same role in The Great Escape and The Americanization of Emily, two or the scores of performances he gave over his long career. He died of natural causes today. To many of us he was so familiar it feels like losing an old friend. R.I.P.