Alabama Man Receives Purple Heart Medal after 53 Years

On Thursday, Alabama National Guard Adjutant General Major General Sheryl E. Gordon presented the Purple Heart to retired Army Lt. Col. David L. Hartline for wounds sustained during the Vietnam War.

Hartline was drafted into the U.S. Army in January 1968. He was attached to the 1st Air Cavalry Division and 101st Airborne Division in Vietnam and served in the Mekong Delta with the 9th Infantry Division.

During that firefight, the barrel of the machine gun Hartline was operating overheated, rendering the weapon useless.

Hartline left the safety of cover to replace the barrel on the machine gun, and it was then he was wounded by gunfire and shrapnel to one of his arms.

After being treated by medics on the battlefield, Lt. Col. Hartline refused to leave the field of battle and his unit.

He received fourteen medals and awards.

After active duty, he served in the U.S. Army Reserves and National Guard, before retiring as a lieutenant colonel with a total of 23 years of service.

Hartline is an advocate for veterans, a leader in the community and a published author, having written a book about his story.

He continues to speak to veterans and civic groups.

His past recognitions also include Veteran of the Year and Legionnaire of the Year, Alabama American Legion.

Categories: Montgomery Metro, News, Statewide