44 year wait ends: Idaho veteran receives Vietnam War medals

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by TAYLOR VIYDO & KREM.com

KREM.com

Posted on March 28, 2014 at 4:45 PM

Updated Friday, Mar 28 at 6:00 PM

COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho -- A Coeur d’Alene veteran received three Purple Hearts for his service in Vietnam was honored again Friday.

Sergeant Leon Strigotte served two tours in Vietnam and earned several medals for his actions including three Purple Hearts. However, he was never presented with his Bronze Star, Air Medal, and Army Commendation Medal until Friday due to mishandled paperwork.

Sgt. Strigotte joined the Army in 1967. He became a paratrooper and was eventually deployed to Vietnam one week before the Tet Offensive. He was often on the front lines and many of his friends never made it home.

He was wounded several times in Vietnam and earned three Purple Hearts. Sgt. Strigotte was nominated for several other medals, including the Bronze Star but the paperwork at the time became lost. The ship carrying his records sank.

While going over records sometime later, he decided to resubmit some of that paperwork.

On Friday, he was officially recognized him as a hero. The National Guard Armory in Post Falls finally presented those awards to him.

“For a lot of years, of course not being what we thought were welcome home. I didn’t expect so much today, but it’s touched me a lot and I think it brings back closure. This is, like I said, a catch up. 44 years later,” said Strigotte.

Sgt. Strigotte’s son is in the military as well and was previously awarded the Bronze Star.

 

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