As a young Marine infantryman, Antonio Sanchez of Albuquerque served our country in Vietnam. When he returned home to New Mexico, he placed all of his uniforms, his service medals, and his discharge papers into a duffel bag that was stolen back in the early 1980s.
Mr. Sanchez wanted to retrieve his service awards so he could pass along a concrete reminder of his military service to his children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. After hitting a series of dead ends trying to retrieve them on his own, he reached out to my office for help.
PHOTO: U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich recognizes Marine Corps and Vietnam War veteran Antonio Sanchez of Albuquerque for his service to the country, November 11, 2023.
Like so many of his fellow Vietnam Veterans, recognition for Mr. Sanchez’s service and sacrifice is long overdue. That’s why, this past weekend, on Veterans Day, I was deeply honored to join Mr. Sanchez and his family to recognize the service awards that he earned through his service to our country. I also presented him with an American flag that was flown over the United States Capitol in honor of his service.
Military medals are an important way that we honor and recognize the service, accomplishments, and valor of our service members and veterans. Unfortunately, the process to replace lost or stolen medals can be unnecessarily bureaucratic and delayed. Through my Medal Retrieval Assistance program
, I am committed to helping veterans like Mr. Sanchez and their family members navigate and speed up this process.
It is extremely important to me to do everything I can to assist service members and their families. That includes assisting with filing a claim with the VA, receiving GI Bill benefits, applying for VA loan assistance, and requesting military records or replacement medals. You can find helpful information about veteran and military benefits in the Veterans Resource Center
on my website.
We owe our nation’s veterans and military families much more than a debt of gratitude or mere words on Veterans Day. We must honor the promise that when they return home, they will receive the recognition and full education, housing, and health care benefits that they have earned through their service.
United States Senator