Not really sure where to go with this: A relative of mine who fought in Vietnam and was wounded during the battle for FSB Illingworth near the Cambodian border on 1 April 1970 has no official documentation indicating he ever received the award. He was also presented a Bronze Star for Valor by a Brigadier General Brown at the same time, and I actually have a picture of him, wearing the medals on his chest, next to the General. Unfortunately, he didn't properly review his DD 214 upon being honorably discharged and the lack of any mention of the Purple Heart is now preventing him from receiving some medical benefits he is entitled to.
He has been in contact with HRC in St Louis, however, they have been unsuccessful in tracking anything down (although they did correct his 214, which incorrectly identified the Bronze Star as being for merit, not bravery).
I'm not really sure what, if anything, I can do to help. He was only at the FSB for about a day (talk about bad timing) and other than the picture, doesn't have much to go on... My question is this: Can anyone point me in the direction of assistance in tracking this thing down, OR if anyone is particularly knowledgeable when it comes to veteran medical benefits could you shoot me a PM? The guy is trying to get a hearing aid to compensate for hearing loss intially incurred when a stack of 8-inch ammunition exploded during the battle. Not too much to ask for, I think.
For those interested in reading up on a relatively unknown, but significant battle:
You might try looking for a website being maintained either directly by the unit he was in or a parent unit. Post your questions there. If the General happened to be flying in and asked /was asked to present some awards, there is a good chance there is some paperwork on them somewhere. Many would not want to get caught asking a GO to participate in something that wasn't documented. On the other hand, award presentation without paperwork probably happened all to frequently. A friend...LRRP...got shot out of a mission and while in the hospital had a GO present him a PH while a picture was taken. After the pic, they picked up the PH and moved to the next bed. There WAS a record of it however.
PS - See if you can run down any medics that were in that area/unit and contact them about this. Some of them kept their own records when they had time.
Thanks, I'm hoping the General (his presence, not the individual himself) will help tie this together. I've just contacted a few individuals who were at the battle and have a small website dedicated to it. One of them is trying to put me in contact with one of the few medics who was there... so great advice in all. Appreciate the assistance so far, I'll post an update if we get one.
A similar thing happened to me with an ARCOM which I had photos of me being awarded and the medal etc but I did not check my DD214 when I got out and it wasn't listed on there. Some 20 years later I noticed it wasn't on the DD214 and contacted my congressman's office who assisted me with the records department in St. Louis who promptly added the medal info to my DD214. When a congressman's office gets involved, other government offices listen much more attentively than if it is just a single guy.
Are you saying that St. Louis did not add the purple heart to his DD214 but only the Bronze star (thus preventing him getting medical benefits etc)? I would contact his congressman's office, they will assign a person from the congressional office to the case and get it squared away really quickly. Use the most senior congressman if you have a choice. Mine was Joe Barton's office.
Thanks everyone. No good news yet but I feel like I'm making progress. As suggested, I re-contacted my congressman and explained the situation in its entirety and they seem to have taken more of an interest this time around. I'm also pursuing some assistance I got from a local DAV, as well as some individuals I've come across who were at Illingworth that morning.
LineDoggie, that's a damn good suggestion and I can't believe I didn't think to look very closely at the citation for the Bronze Star. I will have him forward it to me and take a look.
commanding, it's not that HRC was against giving due credit for the PH, they simply want to see some sort of evidence... of which they have none on file. The citation for the Bronze Star clearly indicated it was for Valor so that was a comparitively easy fix. Again, I was excited enough to have won a small victory that I didn't read it in it's entirety, so here's hoping it mentions something of him being wounded.
Here are some of the pictures I've come across in looking into this. As a sidenote, none of the pictures are mine, nor can I vouch for their authenticity, as far as being from Illingworth. Most of them came from the site: http://we-were-soldiers.com/ which is largely dedicated to the veterans of the battle.
Before the battle:
A few pictures of the 8-inch guns and their ammo carriers. You can see one of the guns, weighing somewhere in the neighborhood of 30,000lbs according to the website above, was flipped on its side by the blast.
This is the crater created by the explosion of powder canisters for the big guns. The massive explosion stunned both the defenders as well as the attackers, and is ironically credited by some as helping stop the onslaught.