Vietnam Vet gets medals 40 years later

marine medal (1)

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. - What started as a complaint to Veteran Affairs turned into an honor no one ever expected. 

A local Vietnam Veteran received several medals Thursday he earned during his service over 40 years ago, medals he never knew he earned. 

"The country was calling and we went," said William Blue. "I was 18."

In 1966 the country was in the midst of the Vietnam War, that's also when Blue joined the fight

"I suddenly realized I had never been on an airplane before and I was going to learn how to jump out of one," Blue reminisced about basic training.

For three years he fought in War that, sparked protests instead of heroes parades when the country's brave men and women came home.

"When you are in the front line in the field in the jungle combat wondering what each day was going to be like, when I finally was going to get on that plane and fly back home, I had already heard about the protesting and people's feelings," said Blue.  "When I came back home, I reflected on what I had done. It was the right thing to do.

"A quarter of those guys never made it," said Blue while looking at a picture of the men he fought with.

Now nearly 50 years after he first enlisted, Blue finally got fully honored for his service. 

While helping with a VA complaint, Congressman Raul Ruiz's office discovered he earned several medals.  No one had ever told him or gave the medals to him, that is until now. Ruiz held an official ceremony in his Palm Springs office in front of Blue's family and friends Thursday afternoon.

"Now as I look at each one of them, I try to remember what did I do at that particular day," said Blue.

One of the several medals he earned was a bronze star. 

"Each one of them I know I earned and I feel very proud of them," said Blue.

"This is our responsibility, this day and age no veteran should go without a strong appreciation of their service to our country in our way this is our opportunity to thank all of our veterans to look our Vietnam War Veterans in the eyes with complete sincerity and say thank you," said Ruiz.

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