IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - A local hero is getting the recognition he deserves. Richard Linger served as a combat engineer in the Vietnam war 50 years ago.
While operating a scoop loader, he ran over a landmine, the injuries required him to be hospitalized. During his stay, Linger received the Purple Heart Medal Set but was never presented with the award certificate.
Thursday, that changed.
"I'm overwhelmed, I wasn't expecting all this. I just didn't think they'd do all this much just for me. It's been 50 years," Linger said.
Among the crowd was Linger's daughter Chris Sumrell, who is grateful for the delayed ceremony. It allowed her to watch her father be presented with the Purple Heart, the Vietnam Service Medal, the National Defense Medal, and the Army Commendation Medal.
"Had this happen back when it should have when he was released from the National Guard. I would have been, maybe two years old, I would never have known this. I'm very happy to have participated in this awesome ceremony," Sumrell said.
From 1968 to 1969, Linger served with Bravo Company, 116th Engineer Battalion in Vietnam, he says during that time getting recognition for serving in the war wasn't a common thing.
"A lot different than what it is today that's for sure too because back then we were kind of outcasts. A lot of opposition to the Vietnam War, so we didn't get much recognition," Linger said.
In a room full of supporting friends and family, Linger was presented with the oldest military award, the Purple Heart.
"It's very emotional to see him presented with all these metals very proud of him. You know, he always kind of downplays what he did, but there's a lot more to it than you realize, you know he could have lost his life that day," Sumrell said.
For Linger, the fifty years that passed, made the overdue ceremony and awards, that much more rewarding. "Thinking a lot of ways this is probably more special now," Linger said.