Bronze Star to be presented posthumously during Run For The Wall visit to Needles

May 11, 2017 GMT

NEEDLES — The family of Richard Anthony Gonzales, born in Needles in 1941, will receive his Bronze Star at this year’s Run For The Wall on May 17.

Richard served in both the Korean and Vietnam theaters. He specialized in welding, blueprints and measures, food service and motor transport. While in Vietnam, he was awarded the Army Commendation Medal for exceptional meritorious achievement in the Republic of Vietnam from Jan. 1 to May 31, 1969, and serving in ground operations with the 101st Airborne Division.

Gonzales was also awarded the Army Commendation Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal, and the Marksman M-14 Medal. After the Vietnam War, he served in the California National Guard.

Richard was honorably discharged on May 9, 1985, and died on April 23, 2007. He was buried with full military honors at Riverside National Cemetery.

Richard truly loved Needles and the river; he loved baseball, shooting guns and good times with his best friend, Flip Mendez. Richard’s mother, Esperanza Medrano Gonzales (Espie), will receive the folded flag from the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 404 Honor Guard, who then will perform a gun salute and Taps.

Begun in 1989, the Run For The Wall sees hundreds of veterans riding motorcycles from West Coast to East each year, ending in Washington, D.C. the weekend before Memorial Day. Now comprising three routes on the organized run, those going through Needles stop for fuel, food and relaxation hosted by the people of Needles under the aegis of the chamber of commerce. This year’s plans call for the riders to exit I-40 at River Road, travel National Old Trails Road to Needles Highway, refuel on the west end of the city, then travel surface routes to Santa Fe Park. Residents are urged to line the routes at their arrival around 1:30 p.m. and departure around 3 p.m.