- Associated Press - Sunday, December 25, 2016

FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) - A Fairbanks Navy veteran has been honored for his military service more than 40 years after the end of the Vietnam War.

U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan on Wednesday presented 63-year-old Mark Boberick with a medal honoring his service in the Vietnam War during a brief ceremony at Fairbanks International Airport, The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported (https://bit.ly/2hkZxbE).

Boberick enlisted in the Navy in 1971 and served on the USS Coral Sea as an air traffic controller. He served two years active duty and then two years in the Navy reserves in Anchorage, reaching the rank of petty officer third class. During the Vietnam War, Boberick guided F-4 Phantom II’s and A-3 Skywarriors from the deck of the aircraft carrier off the coast of Vietnam.

Despite fulfilling requirements, he was never given the Vietnam Service Award, a medal given to service members who served in the war for at least 30 consecutive days. He said for years he didn’t think to apply for the medal, but in 2001 it was time.

“It was time to acknowledge what I had been involved in and get credit for what I’d earned,” he said. “I wouldn’t even go as far as to say it was a new sense of pride or anything. It’s just that all of a sudden it was something that I felt I needed to do.”

Boberick initially reached out to the Vet Center in Fairbanks and then-Sen. Frank Murkowski, but said he didn’t get any results. In August, Sullivan’s constituent services representative Sharon Jackson started working on Boberick’s case. Initially the Navy reported that Boberick didn’t qualify for the medal, but that information was later corrected.

Sullivan met Boberick at the airport on Wednesday, where he presented the veteran with the Vietnam Service Medal and two other awards he was qualified for, the national Defense Service Medal and the Navy Unit Commendation Ribbon.

Boberick said he plans to put the medals in a display case together with a U.S. flag that flew over the Capitol.

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Information from: Fairbanks (Alaska) Daily News-Miner, https://www.newsminer.com


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