Local Vietnam Vet Being Awarded The Purple Heart 56 Years After He Was Injured

Image from the U.S. Defense Department website https://www.defense.gov/News/Feature-Stories/Story/Article/1650949/the-purple-heart-americas-oldest-medal/
Image from the U.S. Defense Department website https://www.defense.gov/News/Feature-Stories/Story/Article/1650949/the-purple-heart-americas-oldest-medal/
Photo courtesy of the Dennis Muth Memorial PTSW Anger Management Group
Photo courtesy of the Dennis Muth Memorial PTSW Anger Management Group

A local Vietnam veteran who just received his purple heart, 56 years after being injured, will be recognized at a public ceremony Thursday, December 7.

Members of a local post traumatic stress anger management group are recognizing Saturnino Carpio, who was injured during an ambush in October of 1967.

According to the Dennis Muth Memorial PTSW group, Carpio was in his third month as an Army medic in South Vietnam when he was among eight soldiers who were injured.

While Carpio was treated in military hospitals, his injuries were not documented in Army records.

It was not until last month that the Army recognized his injuries and his service record was corrected.

Thursday’s ceremony to present the purple heart will be held at 1:30 at the Feed Barn restaurant in Bryan.

News release from the Dennis Muth Memorial PTSW group:

The members of the Dennis Muth Memorial PTSW Anger Management Group hereby acknowledges the service of Saturnino Carpio on the occasion of his award of the Purple Heart. A Ceremony will be held to present the Purple Heart on Thursday, Dec 7, 2023, at 1:30 pm, at The Feed Barn, 2017 Fountain Ave, Bryan.

Saturnino Carpio, a dedicated medic, served with valor and distinction in the 25th Infantry during his deployment to South Vietnam from September 1967 to November 1967. As a member of C Company, known as the “Wolfhounds,” Saturnino’s journey unfolded amidst the challenges of a relentless search and destroy mission.

On October 22, 1967, fate took a dramatic turn when Saturnino’s unit encountered a Viet Cong ambush. The Viet Cong had cunningly turned two of the US’s own claymore mines against them. The Viet Cong had setup a suicide trap waiting for Carpio’s patrol to come near enough to kill and wound as many soldiers as possible. The resulting attack left eight platoon members wounded, including Saturnino, who sustained injuries to his chest, groin, right foot, left eye, and both legs.

In the face of adversity, the wounded soldiers were swiftly evacuated by choppers to Cu Chi Hospital, where they received critical care. Saturnino’s journey to recovery took him to Cam Ron Bay before being transferred back to the United States, landing at Fort Hood, Texas. January 1968 marked a new chapter as he was reassigned to Fort Polk, LA, where he dutifully completed his service, concluding in September 1968.

Saturnino Carpio’s resilience, commitment, and sacrifice during those challenging months exemplify the unwavering spirit of those who served in the Vietnam War. His story stands as a testament to the courage and dedication of those who served on the front lines during this historic period.

Saturnino Carpio’s combat injuries were not recognized by the Army until 56 years after his near-death experience. The incident was not even documented in is Army record even though he was treated for his injuries in military hospitals.

After 56 years of asking for help he was finally recognized and his service record corrected in a letter from the Department of the Army, dated Nov 13, 2023.

So, after 20,480 days of asking for recognition Saturnino has it.