FORT HOOD, Texas — III Armored Corps and U.S. Army Garrison Fort Hood leadership formally recognized a retired Soldier for his gallantry during the Vietnam War. Lt. Gen. Sean Bernabe, commanding general, III Armored Corps and Fort Hood, presented Staff Sgt. (Ret.) John Footman the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star for valor in a ceremony Jan. 11 here.
Footman, a Vietnam War veteran, was presented his awards 33 years after his retirement from the Army.
Footman, who retired from active-duty service after 20 years, was deployed to Vietnam twice in his career. Footman was never formally presented his awards for his service and gallantry during combat. Upon hearing the story, Fort Hood leadership stepped in to change that.
The Bronze Star Medal with Valor was presented to Footman, for distinguishing himself by outstanding meritorious service in connection with ground operations against a hostile force on July 15, 1970, in the Republic of Vietnam.
“I feel really great right now,” Footman said following the ceremony. “This was a great ceremony, a great event and something that I waited for longer than I thought.”
The ceremony was hosted by the Fort Hood Garrison commander, Col. Chad Foster. The awards were presented by the III Armored Corps commanding general, Lt. Gen. Sean Bernabe.
Footman is a native of Tallahassee, Florida. He was drafted into the Army in June 1967 as an infantryman and served as a cavalry scout throughout the remainder of his military career.
Footman’s assignments included serving in Germany, Vietnam and various U.S. assignments. He retired in July 1987 at Fort Benning, Georgia.
“Military service relates to the past,” Foster said. “We stand on the shoulders of those military families that served in the past.”
Sergeant Maj. (Ret.) Joe Gainey, the first senior enlisted advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of staff, was also in attendance and echoed Foster’s sentiment.
“When they handed him that Purple Heart and that Bronze Star, it let me know for a fact that this general, and his command, cares about his troops,” Gainey said. “I know that because he showed us that he takes care of his people whether they’re former or currently serving Soldiers.”
Broll of the ceremony. Login to DVIDS in order to view the high resolution download.