Tribune photo by Aaron Piper/ Marine Corps Lance Corporal Bryant Jahrries pins the Combat Infantryman Badge onto the jacket of his grandfather Dean Goens Tuesday October 9. Goens received his Combat Infantryman Badge forty-four years and nine months to the day that he should have been awarded the badge for combat duty in Vietnam in 1968.
Tribune photo by Aaron Piper/ Louisville VA Medical Center chaplain Colonel David Graetz shakes hands with Dean Goens while his wife Dallie Goens and grandson Lance Corporal Bryant Jahrries, after Goens received his Combat Infantryman Badge on October 9, 2012, forty-four years and nine months after he should have been awarded the badge. The CIB is awarded for actual combat experience. Goens served in Vietnam in 1968 and should have received the badge at that time.
In 1967, 21-year-old Dean Goens didn’t plan on earning any medals. He wasn’t even sure about getting into the military.
It was only recently that Goens, now 66, received the badge he’s most proud of earning for service to his country.
The idea of enlisting crossed his mind in 1967, but the draft made the decision for him, and in December that year Goens joined the U.S. armed forces fighting in Vietnam.
Assigned to the infantry, Goens said the job was 90 percent boredom and 10 percent action.
“They drop you off in the jungle and tell you to go get them,” he said.
Goens said the job wasn’t hard, and he did what he was told.
“It was nothing special,” he said. “It was just another day in the jungle.”
But one day would prove to be very different.
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