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Wounded veteran receives Purple Heart nearly 10 years later

By Katherine Mozzone, KTVM Reporter, kmozzone@ktvm.com
Published On: Oct 25 2013 06:43:33 PM MDT
Updated On: Oct 28 2013 09:47:05 AM MDT
BOZEMAN, Mont. -

Almost 10 years after he was injured by an improvised explosive device, an Iraqi veteran finally received a Purple Heart.

Cory Klumb enlisted in the Montana Army National Guard 10 years after he was discharged from active duty in the Army. Several years later, he was deployed to Iraq.

On April 13th 2004, Klumb's convoy was traveling back from Baghdad National Airport when they were hit with an IED.

"When the incident initially happened, I got put in for the award and it got denied because I didn't require treatment by a physician," explains Klumb.

But Klumb developed hearing loss and when he saw Senator Jon Tester on the news awarding another soldier in his unit with a Purple Heart...

"I wrote them a letter and told them, either get me the award or get it off my 214 so it wouldn't become an issue," says Klumb.

214's are military service records.

Now, Klumb is accepting one of the highest honors given by the military.

"I'm grateful for the award," Klumb says.

Senator Jon Tester tells us close to 60 veterans or their families have contacted his office saying they earned an award but never received one. To date, Tester has awarded 550 medals to 57 veterans.

"That kind of stuff shouldn't happen but it does and we just try to set the record straight," says Senator Tester.

Tester tells us the military does a pretty good job in ensuring folks get what they earned but he says it does happen with some regularity and even one that slips through the cracks is one too many.

"Even if it's late, at least we're making the recognition, making sure the folks are honored appropriately for their sacrifice and their service," says Tester.

And for that, Klumb says he's grateful.

"I thank the senator and his office for his help in getting me this," says Klumb.

Vietnam veteran James Howe knows what it's like to be in combat. He tells us he came out to honor a fellow veteran.

"A lot of people just say, 'well, the war is over, forget about it.' But these gentlemen are going to have to be putting up with their injuries all through their life and to receive a Purple Heart is a great honor," says Howe.

Howe tells us he thinks the military should keep better records of those soldiers who were injured and encourages other veterans who think they've earned an award to come forward for recognition.

"There's a lot of people out there who deserve medals that have never gotten them," explains Howe.

But in Klumb's case, Howe says, "I think it's good for him, people see what he's done for this country."