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Vietnam Vet Finally Gets Purple Heart

A 28-year veteran of the United States Army who served in Vietnam received a Purple Heart 34 years after he was wounded.

"I'm glad to receive it after all these years," retired Major Nolan O'Neal said Thursday. "I had been put in for this medal right after I was wounded."

O'Neal was leading a Vietnamese ranger unit in 1972 when they were attacked. O'Neal was hit by shrapnel, but continued moving his unit forward.

He had put in for a Purple Heart, but like a lot of paperwork on the warfront, it was misplaced.

O'Neal accepted the medal Thursday from Congressman Chet Edwards, whose office helped speed up a process that had been paperwork lost in a bureaucratic shuffle.

"I hope what it says to him is that our country respects him, his service to our country, and it's a way of saying thank you to all of our veterans by thanking then-Captain O'Neal," said Edwards (D - District 17).

"I'm certainly not the only one that didn't get the awards they received," O'Neal said, "so I'm very happy to, at last, receive this."


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