George Bloodworth receives Silver Star decades after Vietnam service

Bloodworth (center) finally received his award years after he served in Vietnam. Photo: Chris Van Hollen's office

WASHINGTON (WJLA) - Decades have passed since George Carlton Bloodworth served the United States in Vietnam, but on Thursday, he finally received an award he was bestowed years ago.

Bloodworth was awarded the Silver Star, the Army's third highest honor, for his service in Vietnam. However, he never received the award itself.

An Army pilot, Bloodworth was wounded in enemy territory while on a 1969 mission to rescue trapped soldiers.

"There were four of us on the ground that had to make our way out, and thankfully everything worked as planned," he said.

Maryland Rep. Chris Van Hollen and Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Clark, who commands the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, were on hand to present Bloodworth with his long overdue medal.

Before Thursday's presentation, though, Bloodworth's daughter didn't even know her dad had been bestowed the honor. She says she noticed a letter on the wall informing him of the award and wondered where the medal was.

"I was just amazed as I went through this letter and saw what my father had done," Brigitte Shoff said. "I said, 'Dad, where's this medal...I've never seen this.'"

"I realized from his response that he'd never actually received the medal."

Van Hollen, who represents the district where Bloodworth's daughter lives, says that the honor is well deserved and that his fellow soldiers would have been killed had Bloodworth not acted so bravely.

"It is really a special moment when we can recognize the courage of the men and women who have served our country with such distinction," Van Hollen said in a statement.

Bloodworth says that the true message from the presentation is that knowing what he did made a difference and was worthwhile.

"It really makes it worthwhile to know there are men and women out there doing the same thing again today, and a lot of them don't get the recognition they deserve," he said.