Aug 22, 2012 6:53 PM by Kate Richards
DENVER (AP) - An Air Force veteran who was among 65 Americans taken hostage in Iran in 1979 has been formally awarded the Defense Department's Prisoner of War Medal.
Retired Master Sgt. James O'Neal Hughes was presented with the medal Wednesday. He paused to maintain his composure as he recounted his ordeal. The audience gave him a standing ovation.
Hughes was a staff sergeant and intelligence assistant for the Defense Intelligence Agency when Iranians seized the U.S. Embassy in Tehran. He was among 13 African-American or female hostages released after about two weeks because their captors said they were oppressed in the U.S.
The Pentagon authorized the medal for Hughes in 2003. It was delivered in 2011. The reason for the delay wasn't clear.
Hughes also served in Vietnam and at other embassies.