FORT HOOD, Texas — Fifty years. That’s how long retired Staff Sgt. John Footman waited to have the Purple Heart and Bronze Star for Valor that he earned in Vietnam formally pinned to his uniform.
”We found out that he had never been formally awarded those two decorations and the answer was obvious — we had to rectify that,” said Col. Chad Foster, Fort Hood Garrison Commander.
With family, friends, and even two of his former commanding officers in attendance, he finally got the honor he deserved.
”This was a great event today,” said John Footman, retired Staff Sergeant and Vietnam veteran. “Something that I had been waiting for and I thought would never happen, but it happened today. I have a lot of people to thank. All my friends that showed up today. It was just awesome.”
Having this moment come after 50 years is nothing short of shocking for Footman.
”I am overwhelmed,” said Footman. “I'm just overwhelmed — and I'm glad it happened. I thought it would never happen, but it did happen.”
If you ask most Americans if they support the troops today, you will hear more yesses that no's, but it wasn’t the same soldiers that paved the way for the current generation.
”It’s important that we look back on the previous generation,” said Col. Foster. “Not everybody that served in Vietnam, like Staff Sergeant Footman, had that. So, we get to show him that love today, that he should have gotten throughout his entire term of service, and we were happy to do that.”
Footman was finally honored properly, but he knows there are many more veterans out there that deserve it just as much.
”I know Vietnam veterans out there that were handed their medal just like me, and if the speak up, they can make it happen,” said Footman.