Vietnam Vet Denied License Plate Honoring Purple Heart

| by Brendan Kelly
Purple Heart MedalPurple Heart Medal

A Vietnam War veteran who was wounded in the line of duty was denied a request for a personalized license plate because he wanted to include the number 69 -- the year he received a Purple Heart.

Arnold Breitenbach was serving as a gunner on an armored personnel carrier in 1969 when a grenade struck his vehicle. Although he was temporarily blinded, he survived the attack with only hearing problems. He was awarded a Purple Heart for his bravery and service.

Now, nearly 50 years later, the Utah Division of Motor Vehicles has denied his request to pay tribute to his service with a custom license plate.

Breitenbach wanted his license plate to read CIB-69, which would indicate the Combat Infantryman’s Badge he was awarded, as well as the year he received the Purple Heart, according to The Spectrum.

Unfortunately for Breitenbach, the DMV has a strict rule which prohibits the number 69 from being used in license plates. Few exceptions are made.

"While your intended meaning behind the requested plate, CIB-69, is honorable, the Division of Motor Vehicles is required to follow Utah law when approving personalized plates," DMV Audit Manager Sherri Murray wrote in a letter in November 2013.

"Administrative Rule R873-22M-34 is clear regarding the use of '69' on personalized plates -- '69' formats are prohibited unless used in a combination with the vehicle make, model, style, type, or commonly used or readily understood abbreviations of those terms," she continued.

This explanation was not cutting it for Breitenbach.

"I figured in today's day and age, when President [Bill] Clinton can have all that stuff going on in the Oval Office and he says that what he did wasn't really sex with that woman, [it's odd] to be turned down because this is so offensive to the citizens of Utah," Breitenbach told The Spectrum.

"They've got Viagra [ads] all over the place," the veteran continued. "I can't imagine myself sitting on the sofa with my parents when I was a little kid having something like that on TV. In today's day and age, it seems like everything is out in the open."

Breitenbach attempted to appeal his case to Gov. Gary Herbert, as well as Rep. Don Ipson. His appeal was ultimately denied in January 2015, reports the New York Post.

After a long fight, Breitenbach opted for a license with a Purple Heart logo, but without the infantry designation.

Source: The SpectrumNew York Post / Photo credit: Arnold Breitenbach via The Spectrum, Flickr

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