A Vietnam War veteran in northwest Iowa has received 11 new medals to replace ones that were stolen from his home 20 years ago. Dennis Roberts of Sioux City lost the use of his right thumb in Vietnam on Christmas Day 1969. Roberts was serving with the Army’s 101st Airborne Division when his five man unit dropped into a landing zone that was booby trapped.
One of Roberts’ comrades tripped one of the devices. “There were four (booby traps) set up and he set one off and that set the rest of ‘em off,” Roberts said. “I landed on my back…and it was scary. I didn’t know if someone was attacking us and I didn’t have a weapon. He didn’t make it. He was dead. My thumb was hanging off…that was scary enough.”
Iowa Congressman Steve King presented Roberts with the 11 new medals on Tuesday. “We say ‘thank you’ to Dennis Roberts. This is the day we commemorate your service and present the medals you so richly deserve,” King said.
The medals given to Roberts include the Purple Heart, Bronze Star and Air Medal. Roberts served in the Vietnam War from 1969 to 1970.
By Woody Gottburg, KSCJ, Sioux City