BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - It was an honor nearly 50 years in the making as friends and fellow Marines gathered to honor the heroics of a local Marine aboard a medevac helicopter in Vietnam.
Retired Marine Sergeant Ken Altazan was presented with the Navy Cross Tuesday afternoon in Baton Rouge. The Navy Cross is the second highest honor a Serviceman can receive.
"No matter what this unbelievable award means to me today, I will always remember I had the distinct pleasure of flying and working with men among men, the Purple Foxes of HMM-364, and I accept this award in their honor. Heroes all of them," said Altazan.
During a rescue mission in the A Shau Valley in Vietnam, Altazan left his medevac helicopter under heavy fire to rescue and carry four injured Marines on board.
He was originally awarded the Silver Star. It took more than 40 years for the full extent of his heroics to emerge.