Bronze Star Medal awarded 47 years after it was earned - abc27 WHTM

Bronze Star Medal awarded 47 years after it was earned

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It was a day for war stories about a man who arranged a helicopter evacuation under enemy fire.

It was a day for taking proud photographs, and one for patience that has finally paid off.

"My husband recommended this award for Sergeant Gentry 46 years ago," said Lou Hancock, the wife of Lt. Colonel Thomas Hancock.

Now in his late 70's, First Sergeant Ron Gentry humbly accepted his Bronze Star Medal, an honor he earned while serving in Vietnam in December, 1966.

A paperwork mix-up in the time since prevented him from receiving it sooner. It was an error that his former commanding officer, Lt. Colonel Hancock, vowed to correct.

"Until about six years ago, that's when he discovered that he never received the honor that he deserved," Hancock's wife said.

She said her husband petitioned for Sergeant Gentry. With the help of Congressman Joe Pitts, they saw that his bravery would be recognized.

"He should have had this as much as me because every time I was out he was with me," said Gentry of Hancock.

Lt. Col Hancock passed away in December without getting to see the Bronze Star adhered to his friend's chest.

A military man in every sense, Sgt. Gentry barely cracked a smile to the crowded room Tuesday.

"He played it off, but I think he was excited about getting it," his son told abc27.

Gentry said he never dwelled on the mix-up, but that it's good feeling to know that his service was never forgotten.

It was not forgotten by his commanding officer or his country.

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