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Afton Man Awarded Medals for Service in Vietnam

CRESTON, Iowa- Senator Joni Ernst held an award medal ceremony for a man who concluded his service in Vietnam.

Bob Mitchell, of Afton served as a machine gunner in Vietnam, he served from 1969 to 1971.

“The first metal it is being awarded today is pretty significant this is the bronze star,” said Ernst. “I’m sorry that’s been 50 years but, the Bronze Star is awarded to individuals who are serving in the United States Armed Forces in a combat theater, distinguished themselves with outstanding achievement or by meritorious service.”

Ernst listing all of the medals and how he earned them, they were mounted on a nice frame display.

“We’ve been working with the VA and trying to get him benefits, said daughter Wendi Eslinger. “So my mission was to get him the metals he deserved, that’s when I wrote the letter to Senator Ernst."

“I’ve come to realize that were a lot of veterans that weren’t recognized for their service,” said Ernst. “When we look at Korean War, veterans, and Vietnam era veterans many of them deployed with other units they were sent home not as part of the unit, and they didn’t receive the welcome home.”

Mitchell said he only found out about the awards yesterday.

“I knew when they checked the medical records, they might find out,” said Mitchell.

Mitchell said he keeps in touch with one of his fellow soldiers from Vietnam, but that he never knew the real names of most of the men he fought with. He said the worst part was coming home thought airports.

“If you didn’t wear you uniform you were okay,” said Mitchell. “You didn’t want to go anywhere in uniform, especially on the east or west coasts.”