LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - After waiting 48 years, a Lake Charles man is finally getting the recognition he deserves.
In 1969, Specialist 4 Albert Malveaux was in the 101st Airborne, serving in the Vietnam War. While his company was moving through mountainous jungle terrain, he encountered an attack from a fortified North Vietnamese unit. Malveaux was shot in the hand, but was still able to to counter fire and allow his fellow soldiers to safely retreat.
"I fired a few shots," said Malveaux. "Everybody else started backing up. I was trapped behind a tree. They threw a lot of smoke out. That's how I got out of there. They got me back and bandaged me up. The next thing I knew I was in Japan."
Malveaux was never given his Bronze Star for bravery. Years later, his son Orlando reached out to the group Purple Hearts United for help.
"He really doesn't say a lot," said Orlando. "He keeps to himself. When he told me something like this, I really couldn't believe it. I said, man you really did something like this? He said yeah, I really didn't think about it. When it happened, he just went into mode and saved himself and others."
Albert Malveaux was finally awarded his Bronze Star this week with a ceremony at the American Legion. He says the lessons learned in the military helped save his life.
"Rely on your leadership and training," said Albert. Do the best you can. Nobody wakes up in the morning and says I'm going to get a Purple Heart. They don't do that."
Documentation given with the award states that Specialist Malveaux's personal bravery and devotion were in keeping with the highest traditions of military service.
Purple Hearts United has returned medals and artifacts to over 300 families and museums.