U.S. Representative Jeff Denham (R-Turlock) recently honored Vietnam combat veteran and Turlock native Rufino “Joe” Centeno with the Combat Infantryman Badge (CIB) among other awards and decorations earned for his distinguished service during the Vietnam War in 1968, but did not receive following his discharge from the armed services.
“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,” said Rep. Denham, who represent portions of Stanislaus and San Joaquin counties. “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.”
Last October, Rep. Denham’s office worked with the National Personnel Records Center as well as the U.S. Army Awards and Decoration Branch on behalf of Mr. Centeno to obtain the Combat Infantryman Badge for acts of heroism in connection with military operations against a hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam on April 18, 1968.
While reviewing this request, the Army’s awards program verified Mr. Centeno’s entitlement to the Combat Infantryman Badge as well as six additional awards and decorations, which includes 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.
In keeping with the tradition and Army regulation, Rep. Denhman presented the awards and pinned Mr. Centeno in a formal ceremony at the Modesto Vet Center in front of an audience of his peers.