A Marine waited more than 45 years after earning several combat medals, but had never received them. Today this Vietnam veteran was given the opportunity to be finally recognized.
Steve Denman, served in the Vietnam war for 11 months in Vietnam until he sustained a fragmentation wound from a rocket. He was told that he’d receive a Purple Heart for his service, but once he returned home, the medal never came.
“I figured once I got home or something (I would receive it). It went away after that, but I didn’t worry about it,” he stated at the pinning ceremony.
Not only was Denman awarded the Purple Heart, but he was also awarded the Combat Action Ribbon, Vietnam Campaign Medal, Vietnam Service Medal and National Defense Service Medal.
People call Denman a hero.
“The country asked me to do a job and I had that obligation at that time and I said, ‘OK, let’s go, we’ll get ’er done,’” he said of his service.
“There are a lot of reasons how and why medals get missed,” a woman interview from the VA said. “There were times when medals have been destroyed just being held at certain facilities. … A lot of veterans’ records were destroyed that even documented the kinds of medals they were supposed to be honored with.”
“Of the requests that come in we can usually track down and be able to prove about 90 percent of them,” she added.
Denman’s son started the journey to get things set right and enlisted the help of U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski’s office.
“I got ahold of Jackie’s office and they just — boom, boom, boom — it was within a month that they had it taken care of,” he said.
“I think (it gives me) a little bit more appreciation for what the government can do and did do,” he said.
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