Monday, October 20, 2008

At long last, hero vet’s kin to receive 100-plus medals

This is a ture American Hero, one who didn't see any fanfare in advertising his accomplishments. This is what the American Military is all about. I salute him for his accomplishments.

Helen Tilgner remembers seeing a scar on her father’s left knee and realizing he had earned a Purple Heart as a chopper pilot in Vietnam.

But she had no idea that her father had won more than 100 medals and awards until this year - 26 years after he died in Malaysia.

Today, Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) will present Tilgner and her two sons with the awards earned by Chief Warrant Officer Armit Tilgner.

“I feel like it is recognition that he should have had long ago, to be remembered with honor, and it’s a legacy I get to pass down to my sons so they are better aware of who he really was,” Tilgner said.

Armit Tilgner served six tours in Vietnam, earning four Bronze Stars, five Army Commendation Medals, three Meritorious Unit Commendation Medals, two Valorous Unit Awards and 136 Air Medal Awards. But he never talked about his military honors.

Tilgner retired after 20 years in the Army in 1973 and went to work for a medflight firm, transporting sick people from remote villages in Malaysia. In 1982, his helicopter crashed during a severe thunderstorm. Helen Tilgner, then 23, never knew where he was buried. Five years ago, she contacted Kerry, who helped locate his grave in Sarawak, Malaysia.

The late Tilgner’s grandsons have followed in his footsteps. Sgt. Jason Kendrick, 28, has done two tours in Iraq and is scheduled to fly out for his third next month. Specialist Jerrod Kendrick, 27, returned in May from Afghanistan

Sphere: Related Content