Vietnam War veteran Bernard Rustad, right, is congratulated by World War II veteran Tom Hanel after Rustad was awarded the Bronze Star Medal with Valor on Friday in Billings, Mont. Rustad received the honor for helping wounded soldiers in the midst of an artillery attack. (Matthew Brown / AP)
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BILLINGS, Mont. — A Montana man who served as a medic in the Vietnam War has received a belated Bronze Star Medal with Valor for disregarding his own safety to help wounded soldiers during an artillery attack.
Bernard Rustad was awarded the medal Friday by his former commander during the war, Lt. Barry Byrd.
Rustad told a crowd of more than 100 people at the Billings Elks Club that he was just doing his job as a 24-year-old specialist with the 5th Infantry Division. He credited Byrd with helping evacuate the men, by getting them onto helicopters during Operation Lam Son in 1971.
The office of former Montana Rep. Denny Rehberg worked with the U.S. Army to have the Roundup-area man recognized for his actions.