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thedrifter
09-15-09, 09:05 AM
September 15, 2009
Honor Medal recognizes sacrifice

Bruce Brown
bbrown@theadvertiser.com

Andrew Guidry Jr. can still feel the brutal winters and broiling summers in Korea while serving in the U.S. Marine Corps.

He has medals earned 50 years ago in that service, but last week was presented another, the Louisiana Honor Medal, during ceremonies in New Iberia that included nearly 175 military veterans and their families.

Gov. Bobby Jindal was on hand to present the medals, the latest stop on a statewide campaign of appreciation.

"There were a bunch of people there," said Guidry, a member of the Marine Corps League. "I thought it was fantastic, a good thing. It's on my desk with the other (nine) medals I've got."

Gene Upton and his brother, Ricky, took a day off from work to attend the ceremony on behalf of their father, Marine Willie Upton, who died in 1992.

"I thought it was real nice," Gene Upton said. "I'm not a veteran myself, but I could see how they could really be proud to receive them. It was real nice of them to do that for the vets.

"Most of the veterans were there to accept for themselves. Looking at the older people who served, this really did something for them. I just wish my father had been around."

Guidry volunteered for the Marines in 1951 and spent 13 months in Korea.

"In the winter, it was 40-below zero, and it got over 100 in the summer," he said. "There were more mosquitoes than we have here, and the food wasn't much at all. The only thing that helped it was Tabasco.

"Conditions were bad, and having to fight was not too good, either."

The retired Marine recalled staying awake for three days at a time in a constant battle for survival.

"When you have to, you do it," he said. "You'd almost pass out when that time was up. It was not a picnic, but I figured it was something we had to do."

That spirit is honored by the Louisiana Honor Medal, targeting every military veteran in the state.

Veterans seeking the Honor Medal must submit a copy of their DD-214/Discharge papers, and a completed application. They should allow sufficient time for processing, and will be notified by mail when the application has been processed.
Additional Facts

The Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs encourages all eligible Louisiana veterans to apply for their Honor Medal. Military personnel killed while on active duty are also eligible for the medal.

Ellie