VFW Post 1924 throws long-overdue party for Vietnam veterans

USMC Vietnam Purple Heart recipient Don Richter smiles after formally being presented his medal during “The Welcome Home Party You Never Got” event hosted by the Fallbrook VFW Post 1924, May 20. Shane Gibson photos

FALLBROOK – On May 20, Fallbrook VFW Post 1924 hosted a Vietnam Veterans event entitled “The Welcome Home Party You Never Got”  complete with a delicious dinner, a medal presentation to each and every Vietnam Veteran along with a hearty hug, and music and dancing.

More than 160 people attended the event on a night to thank and honor local Vietnam Vets. LCpl Don Richter was officially awarded his Purple Heart medal with a declaration read by Post Commander Kenny Etherton and presentation of the medal by CWO4 James Duncan, USMC (Ret).

On Sept. 6, 1970, at 1745 3rd Battalion 7th Marines, Mike Company was moving into a night defensive position when a man detonated a Surprise Firing Device (SFD). The device was believed to be an 8 inch artillery round rigged for pressure detonation and buried in the ground.

The SFD wounded seven Marines which were categorized as three emergency, two priority and two routine medevacs. One of those three emergency medevacs was radio operator Don Richter, who was severely injured with shrapnel throughout his body and spent seven months in the hospital. Through the miracles of Navy corpsmen, doctors and nurses, Richter survived.

He later became a mailman for the USPS. One day while working at the post office he received one of those yellow slips for certified mail so he, as a postman, had to go stand in line like everyone else to sign for the mail. Once the small package was received and he opened it, he discovered it was his Purple Heart medal.

Cpl Don Richter received a standing ovation by the crowd following the presentation of his Purple Heart at the VFW.

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