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  • Tom Boyd

Twice a Hero

Twice a Hero

Richard A. Penry was one of the 258 who received the Medal of Honor for service in Vietnam. He was a hero as they all were. This is not about that but you can read  for details. He saved 18 wounded men and likely the rest of his company. He was 21 at the time.

After he returned Richard suffered the effects of lupus caused by Agent Orange, bitterness over his treatment by civilians, a failed marriage, cocaine and alcohol abuse, and he spent time in jail.

The second time he was a hero was when he reached peace with himself, got clean and worked in a homeless shelter kitchen.

Richard was born, lived and died in Petaluma California, my home town since 1988. Like me he was born in 1948 and like me he served in the 199th Light Infantry Brigade. The 199th motto was Light, Swift, and Accurate. 754 of us died in Vietnam and 4,679 were wounded not including Richard and others like him who suffered in the peace.

Penry Park in Petaluma is named after Richard and there is a display of his medals at the Sgt. Richard Penry Medal of Honor Memorial Military Museum in Petaluma.

Richard died May 9th in 1994 at the age of 45. RIP Richard A. Penry, 11/18/48-5/9/94. May your trip to the heavens have been  light,  swift and accurate.

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