By Henry Sakaida
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tall broad-shouldered and handsome man. He had 3 children: 2 sons and a daughter. His sons died when they were young, but his daughter Mary , who was born in 1933, lives in the village of Putyatino. She is a pensioner. He has some other relatives. After the war, V.F. Telkov lived and worked in Putyatino. He raised and taught his children. He lived modestly in a small log house. Telkov's wife has already died. All of his friends, relatives, and villagers, respected him. He was very sociable, clever, cheerful, and brave...V.F. Telkov is a holder of 3 Orders of Glory. Those awards were given for special heroism. Besides those orders, he had 2 Orders of the Red Star and other medals. In Russia, there are a few people who have such orders. You can see Telkov's name on Poklonnaya Hill in Moscow. Newspapers and books wrote about V.F. Telkov. His name was given to the street where he lived. We are very proud of our father and relative." A subsequent letter from Mariya provided even more details. When her father died, a military commissar attended the funeral. As is customary for a veteran's funeral, all of his medals were pinned onto a small pillow and displayed by his casket. The commissar gave a glowing eulogy about war hero Telkov. After the funeral was concluded, the commissar collected the medals and told the family that they were going to be displayed at a museum in Moscow. He did not ask permission; he simply took them. Naturally, the family was shocked. This only added to their grief, but there was nothing they could do. Telkov's decorations were displayed in the museum then disappeared around 1996. he extreme economic hardships in Russia after the collapse of the Soviet Union, has contributed greatly to museum thefts. Telkov's decorations must have changed hands a few times before they were smuggled out of the country. Mariya's explanation that her father's decorations were stolen is believeable. First of all, she didn't ask for them back. And secondly, it is consistent with known facts. There are many military museums in Russia, and they were quite proud of them during the Cold War period. Even small towns had them. Many veterans also donated their decorations to these museums and so have the families of deceased veterans. In this way, their heroic deeds were made known to the local community and served to inspire the young. In the case of high end decorations, sometimes the government appropriated them from the families when the recipient died. There was a loosely enforced directive that most orders and medals had to be returned to the state after the recipient's death. In February 1977, this decree was rescinded. I sent Mariya a box of food products (Spam, honey, instant coffee, sweet sausages, canned butter,chocolate, etc.) I felt that she should receive something for her loss. She received the parcel and was totally flabbergasted! She could not thank me enough. I wish I could have seen her face. Every year since them , I always send her something at Christmas. When I was living with my grandparents in Japan in the early 1950s, my dad used to send us "care" packages from California. We were so poor, the packages meant alot to us. He always packed it with candy and Spam. Last year, I ordered a bunch of Soviet war books from a dealer here. And wouldn't you know it? One of them was a thin pulp publication on some Cavaliers of the Order of Glory. And there on page 121 was the full story of Vasily Telkov! I had the article translated and would like to share it with you. FIELD ENGINEER AND SCOUT Vasily Telkov was called up for military service on the third day of the war. He was taken to the 16th Military Topographic detachment at the approach of Smolensk. But he didn't have to deal with topography. Instead, he was given a rifle. He fought as a private in the region of Smolensk, on the Yartsevsk Heights near Viazma and Rzhev. In Autumn 1941, the battle in the environs of Moscow began. It was set up on the fast territory and lasted without stop during the Autumn and Winter of 1941 - 1942. A two-wheeled cart drawn by a pair of horses with Vasily Telkov as the driver rushed along the fields and groves near Moscow. (continued...)

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