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Stolen military medals returned to Springfield Armory after nearly three decades

Two dozen medals marking a Springfield family's military history have been returned to the Springfield Armory National Historic Site.

The marksmanship medals were stolen from the Armory nearly 30 years ago. They were from the 19th century collection of brothers Milan and Freeman Bull, both longtime Springfield Armory employees, who excelled at target sports.

Alex MacKenzie, curator at the Springfield Armory, said Milan Freeman ran a sporting goods store on Springfield's Main Street.

“[Milan Freeman] was a three-time city councilman for the city of Springfield," MacKenzie said during an event Wednesday. "Their families grew up here, and it was Freeman's daughter, Nellie, who came [to the Armory] during World War II, and donated the medals that belonged to her father and uncle."

MacKenzie said the entire collection was returned in "great shape." The U.S. Attorney's Office collaborated with the FBI to retrieve the artifacts from a private collector in Tennessee.

Officials do not believe the recent owners of the collection knew it was stolen.

Carrie Healy hosts the local broadcast of "Morning Edition" at NEPM. She also hosts the station’s weekly government and politics segment “Beacon Hill In 5” for broadcast radio and podcast syndication.
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