Tuscaloosa man receives his Purple Heart 40 years after serving - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

Tuscaloosa man receives his Purple Heart 40 years after serving

Posted: Updated:
John L. Hooks (L) receives his Purple Heart. Source: WBRC video John L. Hooks (L) receives his Purple Heart. Source: WBRC video
  • More newsMore>>

  • House leaders abandon border bill

    House leaders abandon border bill

    Thursday, July 31 2014 3:33 PM EDT2014-07-31 19:33:23 GMT
    A divided House of Representatives is moving forward on a bill to address the immigration crisis on the southern border after GOP leaders made concessions to win conservative support.More >>
    Short on votes, House Republicans abruptly abandoned a bill Thursday to address the immigration crisis on the U.S.-Mexico border after last-minute maneuvering failed to lock down conservative support. An hour later, they...More >>
  • Aviation company departs, new business sought at South AL Regional Airport

    Aviation company departs, new business sought at South AL Regional Airport

    Thursday, July 31 2014 3:09 PM EDT2014-07-31 19:09:48 GMT
    An aviation company in Covington County that had hoped to bring high-paying jobs to the area has decided to pull out of South Alabama. Now, county and city officials in Opp and Andalusia are on the huntMore >>
    An aviation company in Covington County that had hoped to bring high-paying jobs to the area has decided to pull out of South Alabama. Now, county and city officials in Opp and Andalusia are on the hunt for a new prospect.More >>
  • Investigators reach Ukraine jet wreckage site

    Investigators reach Ukraine jet wreckage site

    Thursday, July 31 2014 3:04 PM EDT2014-07-31 19:04:37 GMT
    An international team of investigators in eastern Ukraine on Thursday reached the crash site of the Malaysia Airline Flight 17 for the first time.More >>
    Two weeks after a missile brought down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, an international team of investigators Thursday reached a wreckage site in eastern Ukraine that remains bitterly contested between government forces and...More >>
TUSCALOOSA, AL (WBRC) -

Forty years after being discharged from service, a Tuscaloosa man received one of the military's highest honors.

John L. Hooks was awarded the Purple Heart Thursday afternoon. Hooks fought in Vietnam and served in the Air Force from 1957 until 1972. He was wounded in action in 1969 but due to a clerical error, he never received the Purple Heart.

In 1969, Hooks was flying as a gunship crew member during the Vietnam War. One day on a run, everything seemed to be going as planned until a firefight broke out.

"We were on the target. We were shooting for our guys on the ground and somebody shot me," said Hooks.

When the plane landed, Hooks put his own injuries on hold.

"He passed on treatment for his wound so that the more serious injuries could be attended too," Lt. Gen. David S. Fadok said.

Hooks still has part of the shrapnel trapped in his arm. It's a wound and a reminder of his service and sacrifice.

"He is an incredibly humble individual, so my guess is while he may have known that he deserved the Purple Heart, he never brought it up," said Fadok.

It wasn't until years later, during a casual conversation, that the subject even came up.

"The individual he was speaking with I think offered to say hey I think we need to correct this," said Hooks' son John.

And that's what led to Thursday's ceremony. In front of his family, friends, and fellow servicemen, Hooks was finally given the honor he so richly deserved. Hooks says he doesn't mind the delay and Thursday's ceremony was well worth the wait.

"Makes me very proud and awful nice to have the general come by. Very nice. Just super," said Hooks. "It was wonderful for me, tremendous honor to be the one to actually award this in recognition of his selfless service and sacrifice," said Fadok.

In addition to three, one-year tours in Vietnam, Hooks' foreign service included time in Germany, England, Libya, Japan and Korea.

Copyright 2012 WBRC. All rights reserved.

Powered by WorldNow