Utah WWII veteran receives medals 70 years after earning them

WEST JORDAN, Utah (ABC 4 Utah) A 90-year-old World War II veteran from West Valley City received seven medals including the Bronze Star at the West Jordan offices of 4th District Representative Mia Love Monday.

Richard Johnson was 20 years old back in January of 1945 when he was fighting in Europe at the Battle of the Bulge. He was pinned down behind enemy lines when a nearby soldier was critically wounded by machine gun fire.

“I jumped out of the riverbed and dragged that man down to the riverbed. We got medics to him as soon as we could. I remember his name, it was John Laughlin, but I never knew if he made it or not. I’m sure he lost that leg at least,” said Johnson.

Why did it take so long to get the Bronze Star and 6 other medals he earned? Richard says because he never asked.

“Couple times when I looked into it, the backlog was so big, it took months to get em. So then you just don’t bother, but when I saw the congresswoman’s offer, I said this is my chance,” said Johnson.
He got a letter from Representative Mia Love asking if there’s anything her office can do to help. He asked for his long overdue medals and she came through Monday.

“This man fought, not for the fanfare, not for the medals, but he fought so that our children, our grandchildren would be able to enjoy the blessings of freedom,” said Love.

Richard was humbled by the event. ” I didn’t know that that was anything heroic. Anybody could have done that. The man was screaming for help,” said Johnson.

Richard plans to put the medals in a frame and then pass them on to his children and grandchildren.

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