Vietnam veteran receives medals after serving almost 50 years ago

Local News

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB)– A Vietnam War veteran is finally getting the medals he earned during his service almost 50-years ago.

Today, Congressman Brian Higgins recognized veteran Sergeant Phillip Yockey for his service.

Sgt. Yockey served almost a decade in the U.S. Army enlisting at just 19-years old.

He was discharged in 1979 after almost 10-years of honorable service and returned home to Buffalo without the medals he earned.

His family reached out to Higgins to change that. Now years after his service, his name will be added to the Wall of Honor at the Buffalo and Erie County Naval Park.

Congressman Higgins also presented him with the good conduct medal, the national defense service medal, the Vietnam service medal with two bronze service stars, and the driver and mechanic badge.

Sgt. Yockey says today was a surprise because he never thought he’d get the medals he earned so long ago.

“If it was 50 years ago I think it would be more recognizable but we still get our shine in the light as of today as I’m hoping it gets a lot of people more recognized than just myself,” Yockey said.

Sgt. Yockey ended up losing his legs after returning home because of diabetes from Agent Orange. He now lives at the Buffalo VA Hospital’s Willow Lodge where he gets care.

Sgt. Yockey says he thinks it’s so important for Vietnam veterans to be honored, even all these years later, because many were not recognized when they returned home.

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