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Local Veteran Receives Purple Heart After 44-Year Delay

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GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. (WCCO) – A Golden Valley veteran just received a military honor after a decades-long delay.

Fred Jenness was a Navy Seabee who was wounded in Vietnam in 1969. On Monday afternoon, he finally received a Purple Heart medal.

The award was delayed for decades because his mission was classified, which made access to records difficult.

Senator Amy Klobuchar, whose office helped Jenness get the medal, spoke at his ceremony.

“This is an award that is long overdue for a man who gave so much for his country. Fred was wounded in combat when the enemy attacked his team’s compound,” Klobuchar said. “Despite wounds to his right leg, he was able to make it to a bunker and return fire with a machine gun and rockets. His actions helped drive off the enemy force.”

Jenness says the award is an important reminder to his grandchildren of the sacrifices that servicemen and women made for their country.

“The honor for me is the grandkids, that they have someone to look up to, and they know what has been sacrificed in the past,” Jenness said.

He has already received the Combat Action Ribbon, the Vietnam Service Medal and numerous other awards for his service.

Jenness said that of the 13 members of his Seabee team, he is the only surviving member.

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