Illinois treasurer returns missing medal to Marine’s family

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs has returned a Purple Heart medal to the family of Marine killed during the Vietnam War.

Frerichs returned the medal to two of Marine Pfc. Andrew Gust Richard’s nieces during a ceremony at the Illinois Statehouse on Tuesday. Richard, a native of Elkhart, was killed in June 1968.

The (Springfield) State Journal-Register reports that Richard’s original medal was destroyed in a house fire during the 1970s. His brother later requested and received a replacement medal that was put in a bank safe deposit box. The Purple Heart and other medals were turned over to the state treasurer’s office about a year ago as unclaimed property.

Richard was assigned to the First Battalion, 27th Regiment. He was killed while participating in Operation Allen Brook.