CONYERS, Ga. — A Covington man received several Navy awards from U.S. Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., on Saturday, Aug. 15 — more than 45 years after the military action in which he earned them.
Retired Petty Officer 3rd Class Craig Petraszewsky is a Vietnam veteran who participated in Operation Frequent Wind in April 1975.
The Operation involved the evacuation of the last American civilians from Saigon as the fall of the city to the North Vietnamese army was eminent, according to the National Naval Aviation Museum website navalaviationmuseum.org.
Petraszewsky received the Vietnam Service Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal, Good Conduct Medal, Navy Unit Commendation Ribbon, and Meritorious Unit Commendation Ribbon from Perdue, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
He said, “I am proud to have served my country as a United States Navy sailor then as a police officer, serving my community for a total of 20 years.
“If called upon I would respond and do it all over again. I miss being part of something bigger than myself. I’m honored to have Sen. Perdue present these awards and appreciate his team’s diligent efforts in helping me receive them.”
He received the awards as a result of ongoing efforts by Perdue's constituent services team. The senator's office staff contacted the Navy on Petraszewsky’s behalf and provided documentation to justify his eligibility, Perdue said.
“Georgia’s veterans are truly American heroes. It is my highest honor to be in Conyers today to recognize Petty Officer Petraszewsky’s service to our nation,” Perdue said.
“After dealing with the nightmare that is government bureaucracy for more than three years, Petty Officer Petraszewsky contacted our office to help him obtain the Navy medals he bravely earned in battle during the Vietnam War. My team got to work right away to ensure these awards were rightfully received," he said during the event at the Veterans of Foreign Wars post in Conyers.
"Our service members have sacrificed so much to protect our freedom, and it’s our duty to always honor them,” Perdue said.