Veteran gets Purple Heart 60 years late

PLACENTIA Jim Quibodeaux was not expecting that this would ever happen. After all, it had been almost 60 years since he left the army after being wounded in battle.

But just weeks before he turns 80, the army has honored him with the decoration he earned on the battlefield.

Quibodeaux was only only 17 years old when he joined the army. The year was 1947, and his destination was Korea.

"Korea was much like World War I; it was fought in the trenches," Quibodeaux recalls.

And it wasn't long Quibodeaux would see first-hand the combat that claimed more than 50,000 American lives.

As the Americans were working their way toward Seoul, Quibodeaux and his fellow soldiers were caught in a firefight.

"It was a big push by North Korea to push us into the ocean, and my trench buddy, my foxhole buddy was killed that morning, and it was pretty traumatic," describes Quibodeaux.

Quibodeaux was unaware that he had been shot in the same exchange that killed his friend.

"When the enemy backed off, and we had a chance to see what was going on, I felt something wet on my right leg and I reached down and had a hand full of blood," he recalls.

Due to a clerical error, Quibodeaux never received any medal or commendation. It was an oversight that was finally remedied last week, 59 years after his battle field injury.

"It means a lot," he says.

Quibodeaux and Donna, his wife of 59 years, proudly display the purple heart along with Jim's other medals at their home in Placentia.

"You tell your kids these war stories and they kind of just bounce off their heads. But like my daughter, when she found out that I had gotten the Purple Heart, when we had a little get-together on Saturday, she tells me Dad, you never told me this story, what happened? So your family recognizes you, and that's what it's all about, really," Quibodeaux says.

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