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Utah Vietnam veteran receives lost medals

Senator Mitt Romney presents Richard DeGooyer with replacement medals from his service in Vietnam. June 18, 2021. Derek Petersen KSLTV

SALT LAKE CITY — Richard DeGooyer said when he returned home from serving in the US Army in the Vietnam war, he was told not to wear his uniform, only Levis.

He was wearing jeans again Friday but able to joke about it with Utah Senator Mitt Romney as they met in the Federal Building downtown. “We’re both wearing Levis,” they laughed.

DeGooyer and his family had contacted Romney’s office recently, hoping for any help to get replacement medals for those he lost 20 years ago.

“That is beautiful, thank you sir,” said DeGooyer. “Congratulations,” responded Romney, as he gave him the Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Overseas Service Ribbon & Numeral 2, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Ribbon w/Device (1960), Expert Badge & Auto Rifle Bar, and the Sharpshooter Badge & Rifle Bar.

“Very honored, very honored to meet the Senator, and it’s an honor for all the veterans,” said DeGooyer to KSL afterward. He said he is grateful for the help and recognition he has been getting from the government and VA also.

Romney says it was his privilege to do the presentation.

“I’m happy we were able to get replacement medals for him to acknowledge his service to our country,” said Romney. “People like myself have a special place in our hearts for those who served in Vietnam. They did not get the respect they deserved.”

Romney had spent the morning meeting with recent Utah high school graduates on their way to the different service academies in the different branches of the military. They stayed in the room to watch the presentation as well and applaud DeGooyer.

 

The 74 year old vet said he was grateful to see the young people who would be the next generation to serve the country.


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