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Navy veteran from Adkins receives decorations 23 years after retiring
GREGORY RIPPS —
Retired U.S. Navy Lt. Cdr. Arthur Wildberger displays the military decorations he did not receive when he retired in 1991.
WCN CorrespondentJune 25, 2014 2,624 views 1 comment
U.S. Navy veteran Arthur Wildberger has finally received the 16 military decorations he should have received when he retired in 1991.
In a brief ceremony at the Frank M. Tejeda Texas State Veterans Home in Floresville June 16, U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar presented to Wildberger 12 medals and four ribbons, along with a retirement pin.
“This is by far the largest amount of awards we’ve presented at one time,” Cuellar said, adding that Wildberger was “a true example of a patriot.”
Cuellar credited staff from his San Antonio office for obtaining the awards.
“Thank you for putting closure to my military career,” Wildberger said to the small assemblage. “I’m proud to be a recipient of these and proud to be an American.”
Wildberger, 64, retired from the Navy as a lieutenant commander in 1991 and has lived in Adkins since then. He and his wife, Maria, have two sons, Paul and Ben Pedraza.
A veteran of the Vietnam War and Operation Desert Storm, Wildberger related that he was serving onboard the USS New Orleans during America’s first war with Iraq. One day when the ship was pierside at Kuwait City, Kuwait, unloading Marines, the alarm sounded that an enemy missile was on its way. Wildberger said that while he was running to the main engine room, he fell and injured his back. The missile didn’t hit the ship -- it took out the Army chow hall on shore, according to Wildberger -- but Wildberger had to be medically evacuated to Germany.
“There they gave me the option of taking an early retirement, which I did,” said Wildberger. “That’s why I didn’t get my awards at that time.”
But six months ago he obtained a book on military decorations to see what he should have received.
“I called the congressman’s office, and they got to work on it,” Wildberger said.
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June 28, 2014 4:13am
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