Governor Jindal in Sulphur awarding medals to veterans

SULPHUR, LA (KPLC) - Governor Bobby Jindal was in Sulphur on Thursday afternoon awarding veterans with the Louisiana Veterans' Honor Medal.

Jindal stopped by the Sulphur Parks and Recreation Center to distribute the medals.

More than 200 veterans were on hand for the ceremony.

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The following is a news release from the Office of Governor Jindal:

Governor Jindal Awards 212 Veterans from Calcasieu Parish with the LA Veterans Honor Medal

SULPHURToday, Governor Bobby Jindal awarded 212 veterans from Calcasieu Parish with the Louisiana Veterans' Honor Medal at the Sulphur Parks and Recreation Center. Governor Jindal was joined by Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs (LDVA) Secretary Lane Carson and Major General Bennett C. Landreneau, Adjutant General of the Louisiana National Guard, to award the state's veterans with a special medal in honor of their service in the Armed Forces.

Governor Jindal said, "The veterans we are awarding today are true American heroes who have fought all across this world to protect the liberties we enjoy everyday. These medals serve to show our respect and appreciation for the brave men and women who served our country and fought to protect our American way of life."

Governor Jindal signed legislation in 2008 to create the Veterans' Honor Medal Program in order to recognize and honor all of Louisiana's veterans. The program is managed by the Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs. The Veterans' Honor Medal is gold-plated and comes with a blue ribbon. One side shows the state of Louisiana with "United States" embossed above and "Armed Forces" below.

The other side bears the words, "Louisiana appreciates your service to our country." Veterans who sustained a wound in battle will receive an honor medal designated by a silver star and a purple ribbon.  Families of veterans who were killed in action will receive a honor medal designated by a gold star and a gold ribbon.

While awarding the medals, Governor Jindal told stories of medal recipients to highlight the heroic acts of Louisiana's veterans.

Staff Sgt. Douglas M. Mann was born on July 19, 1943 in Becker, Mississippi and he joined the United States Army in July of 1962, serving for 7 years.

In 1966, Mann was sent to Bong Son Province, Vietnam where he was Platoon Sgt. of the 1st Platoon, C Company, 2nd Battalion, 8th Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division Air Mobile. On October 1, 1966, after spending about three months in the field, his platoon received a radio message while on patrol to be at a specific landing zone two miles away to be picked up by helicopters.

For two weeks they had not seen any enemy soldiers so they decided to travel faster and get to the landing zone quickly.  After about 250 yards, the enemy soldiers ambushed the platoon from three sides. Mann was the third person injured but continued to fight while a medic was holding on to his injuries to keep him from bleeding to death. He remained in command and called for an artillery strike on their position and told everyone to run.  Out of a 40-man platoon, 28 survived.  He was awarded the Purple Heart Medal for his wounds.

Mann retired and was put on disability by the U. S. Army on May 29, 1968. Upon completion of military service, Mann attended Centenary College and earned his B.S. while participating in the VA Vocational Rehabilitation Program. Mann went on to manage several automobile dealerships and is now retired.

Mann has four children, Stephen, Stephanie, Rebecca and Tammy and currently lives in Lake Charles with his wife Leslie.