SPRINGVALE — Richard LeBrun’s military service in Vietnam has finally been recognized more than 55 years after he was stationed there as a senior airman in the U.S. Air Force.

LeBrun, of Springvale, received the Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm and the Vietnam Service Medal with Bronze Service Star on Tuesday.

LeBrun’s time in Vietnam had not previously been recognized because his discharge papers did not specify that he served there. Congresswoman Chellie Pingree’s staff worked with LeBrun to find and submit documentation proving his service so the military would release the medals.

“Chellie Pingree’s representatives who made this happen deserve to be recognized for all their efforts,” LeBrun said. “They knew it was the right thing to do and pursued it to the end.”

Stationed in Japan for the first two years of his four-year hitch from 1961-64, LeBrun said he volunteered for a temporary stint in Vietnam in 1963.

“I volunteered to go wherever they needed me,” he said by telephone from his Springvale home on Thursday.

There were a number of temporary assignments in Vietnam at the time, he recalled. He was there longer than most because he spoke French, which many Vietnamese spoke because the country was a former French colony.

After his time in Vietnam, LeBrun spent the remainder of his enlistment in France.

He later served five years in the Air National Guard and 17 years in the Maine Army National Guard.

He is retired after 21 years as a nuclear rigger at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery.

“Being able to reconnect veterans with medals they have lost or awarding them ones they never received is a great honor for me,” Pingree said in a statement. “These veterans certainly didn’t serve in the military with the goal of earning medals, but it’s an important acknowledgment of their service and experience.

“I’m extremely grateful for Richard LeBrun’s courageous service in Vietnam and am so glad my staff was able to get him the recognition he deserves.”

Tammy Wells can be contacted at 780-9016 or at:

[email protected]

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