Turlock native and Vietnam combat veteran Rufino “Joe” Centeno received the Combat Infantryman Badge (CIB) among other awards and decorations earned for his distinguished service during the Vietnam War in 1968. For unknown reasons, he did not receive these awards following his discharge from the armed services. U.S. Representative Jeff Denham (R- Turlock) honored Centeno by presenting the CIB and other awards early last week.
“As a veteran myself, one of my greatest honors is my ability to help those who served our nation receive the recognition they are owed for their distinguished service,” stated Representative Denham. “Mr. Centeno is a distinguished American who waited far too long to receive his Combat Infantry Badge, and I’m pleased our office could help secure due acknowledgment for his heroism during combat in Vietnam.”
Rep. Denham’s office worked with the National Personnel Records Center last October, as well as the US Army Awards and Decoration Branch on behalf of Mr. Centeno to ensure he obtained the Combat Infantryman Badge for acts of heroism in connection with military operations against a hostile force in Vietnam on April 18, 1968.
After the Army’s awards program confirmed Mr. Centeno’s entitlement to the CIB, it was found that he was also to be awarded six additional awards and decorations, including: the Army Commendation Medal with “V” Device; the Army Good Conduct Medal; the Vietnam Service Medal and Silver Service Star, the valorous Unit Award; the Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation, and the Republic of Vietnam Civil Actions Honor Medal Unit Citation, First Class.
Rep. Denham presented the awards and pinned Mr. Centeno in a formal ceremony held at the Modesto Vet Center, located at 1219 N. Carpenter Road, in an audience of his peers on January 9th, 2013.