First Army to present Bronze Star to family of soldier killed in action in Vietnam

Local News

Lt. Gen. Antonio A. Aguto, Jr., commanding general, First Army, will formally present the Bronze Star Medal to a local family more than 50 years after their loved one died while serving in Vietnam.

Marie (Derry) Nelsen and her family will receive the medal from Aguto at 9 a.m. Monday at the Milan American Legion Post 569, 515 1st Ave. W., Milan, a news release says.  

Army Private First Class David W. Derry served during the Vietnam War when he was killed in action in March 1968, says a First Army news release. Because of an administrative mishap, Marie Nelsen – who was pregnant with their daughter Trina at the time of his death – never received Derry’s medals or other awards and citations.

Recently, local military advocate Ken Moffett contacted First Army to see whether Aguto would formally present the medal to Marie Nelsen.

The Bronze Star Medal was established by Executive Order on Feb. 4, 1944. It is awarded to members of the U. S. Armed Forces for either heroic achievement, heroic service, meritorious achievement, or meritorious service in a combat zone.

In addition to the Bronze Star Medal, Aguto also will present the Purple Heart Medal, Combat Infantry Badge, and a U.S. Flag to Marie Nelsen.

About First Army

As U.S. Army Forces Command’s designated coordinating authority for Army Total Force Policy, First Army partners with all Army National Guard and Army Reserve units throughout the continental United States, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands to advise, assist and train their formations to achieve Army-directed readiness goals and deliver trained and ready Reserve Component units for worldwide contingencies.

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