Tester honors a Vietnam hero

(HELENA, Mont.) – Senator Jon Tester today honored an American hero with the medals he earned during the Vietnam War.

Tester presented Helena resident Bill Rich with 13 medals, ribbons, and citations, including the Presidential Unit Citation, the Meritorious Unit Commendation with One Bronze Star, and the Humanitarian Service Medal.

At Tuesday’s ceremony at Fort Harrison’s Navy Reserve Center in Helena, Tester highlighted Rich’s role in the Tet Counter Offensive where his unit was responsible for transporting a group of South Vietnamese out of Hue to a refuge center at Phu Bai. Rich’s unit earned the Presidential Unit Citation for their time in Hue.

“It is my honor to share the story of Bill’s military service, because no story of heroism should ever fall through the cracks,” Tester said. “These decorations are small tokens, but they are powerful symbols of true heroism, sacrifice and dedication to service.”

In addition to the Presidential Unit Citation and the Humanitarian Service Medal, Rich earned the Vietnam Campaign Medal with 1960 Device, the Navy Expert Rifle Medal with Three Bronze Stars, the Navy Expert Pistol Medal, the Navy & Marine Corps Overseas Service Ribbon with One Silver and Four Bronze Stars, the Antarctica Service Medal with Bronze Clasp, the Vietnam Service Medal with One Silver and Two Bronze Stars, the Navy Good Conduct Medal with Four Bronze Stars, the Naval Reserve Meritorious Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal with One Bronze Star, the Combat Action Ribbon, and the Navy Unit Commendation Ribbon with one Bronze Star.

Joining Rich at the ceremony were his wife Debby, his daughter Mariah, Rich’s mother and father-in-law, Ed and Margret Mill, and Rich’s brother-in-law Tom Miller.

Tester’s office regularly serves Montana veterans whose service awards are lost or never received. More information on Tester’s efforts to help Montana veterans receive their service awards can be found HERE.