40 years late, Vietnam vet awarded Purple Heart

Posted at 10:50 PM, Aug 09, 2012
and last updated 2012-08-10 01:10:47-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- It was a big day for Airman 1st Class David Chung. Forty years after being wounded during the Vietnam War and later denied the Purple Heart because of his race, he was finally awarded what was due.

Chung was injured while saving two soldiers who truck was hit by a mortar shell, and for that he received his Purple Heart on Thursday.

And while the soldiers he saved were not there, someone with a very special bond was.

It was May 1972 when Chung made close friends with helicopter pilot James Jensen during their tour in Vietnam. During a mission, Jensen’s helicopter was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade and went down. Jensen was killed.

Years after the war, Chung moved to Utah and by chance found Jensen’s daughter, Jennifer, who never knew her father.

An instant bond was formed.

“It's through him that I know the sacrifice of my dad. His courage and bravery for his brothers, they're a band of brothers when they were there,” said Jennifer.

Toward the end of the war, military leaders thought giving medals to war veterans who looked like the enemy would not be well-received.

"This man now has a face of honor and valor and courage and bravery and love," says Jennifer.

Chung’s story hits close to home for those at FOX 13. Jennifer Weaver works as an assignment desk manager.

She calls the experience a miracle.