PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Carl Charnesky of Bethel Park was wounded in Vietnam decades ago, but it’s only now that he received the purple heart, thanks to the assistance of his congressman, Tim Murphy

“It was a long road,” recalled Charnesky. “It wasn’t easy. Anybody who comes home from the military who was in battle — they deserve everything they got.”

At a brief ceremony at the Bethel Park American Legion attended by other veterans, Murphy pinned the medal on Charnesky and presented him an army commendation medal, a Vietnam service medal, and several other medals that Charnesky earned years ago.

“When I first went over, I’ll tell you what, It’s not like being in the Boy Scouts,” Charnesky said. “Once you land, you better be ready to go. You get your guns, get dressed, you’re out in the battlefield before you know it.”

Charnesky told KDKA political editor Jon Delano afterwards that his unit was attacked with many killed in action.

Charnesky: “I got hit in the hip, and there was no more I could do.”

Delano: “Were you aided quickly?”

Charnesky: “No, because they had a hard time getting the first aid helicopter in.”

But medics on the scene kept him alive until rescue and ultimate return home.

Murphy says what happened to Charnesky — getting his medals so late in life — is not all that uncommon.

“Because they were sometimes greeted in airports by very hostile people, they threw their uniforms away. never got their medals, nor did they want their medals,” said Murphy.

“And it really is an important part of the healing process, part of the process of being grateful — showing our gratitude as Americans — that we make sure that every single Vietnam veteran gets every medal they earned.”

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