Dying Vietnam vet hoping to gain US citizenship

Credit: Photo-graphe/Pixabay

Credit: Photo-graphe/Pixabay

A decorated Vietnam War veteran in hospice is hoping to receive American citizenship as he battles brain cancer, the Longmont Times-Call reported.

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Werner Trei, 71, was born in Germany but moved with his family to Lincoln, Nebraska, when he was 2, KDVR reported.

Even though he was a German citizen, Trei was drafted in 1968 and served for the U.S. military in Vietnam, serving as an Army Ranger with the airborne 75th Ranger Infantry Regiment, the Times-Call reported,

Trei served until 1970 and was awarded three Bronze Stars and a Vietnamese Gallantry Cross for helping to save 100 stranded Vietnamese civilians deep inside enemy-held territory, the newspaper reported.

He did not however, earn U.S. citizenship and said it took nearly a year to get a green card after the war, the Times-Call reported.

“I didn’t know what I was doing,”Trei told the newspaper. “I was just trying to get by.”

Trei is now in hospice care at The Peaks Care Center in Longmont. His caregivers are reaching out to Gov. Jared Polis and Sen. Cory Gardner to help him finally gain citizenship, KDVR reported.

"He studies for his tests every day," Carrie Sladek, director of life enrichment at The Peaks, told the Times-Call. "But we're beginning to see fluctuations in his cognitive ability and he's having more trouble remembering his answers each day that passes."

Trei said he hopes his application will be approved soon.

"It would mean the world to me," Trei told the Times-Call. "I'm in hospice care now, so I don't have that long left."

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