Vietnam War vet’s license plate request denied, deemed too offensive

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ST. GEORGE, Utah – Vietnam War veteran Arnold Breitenbach said he only wanted to commemorate his military service on this license plate. But because Breitenbach served in 1969, the Utah Tax Commission said, “no.”

Breitenbach served 12 months in the U.S. Army, the whole year of 1969.

He also received a Purple Heart as part of that service after being injured as a gunner on an armored personnel carrier. It’s something he’s proud of.

“We were going over there to protect our country,” Breitenbach said. “To fight for freedom for our country.”

Breitenbach said he’s always had a Purple Heart license plate, but came across someone who’d commemorated their service through the letters and numbers. Wanting to follow suit, he requested a personalization of CIB-69, standing for Combat Infantryman’s Badge, and the year he served.

His request was denied, deemed to offensive.

“I thought it was kind of silly,” Breitenbach said. “I really think that my explanation of the symbols of the CIB and the year wouldn’t be a problem to anybody.”

Under state code, the use of 69 on plates is prohibited because of its generally recognized sexual reference. The only exceptions are for use with a clear designation of a car model, for example CHEVY 69.

"There's different views of whether it's fair or not,” said Utah Department of Motor Vehicles spokesman Charlie Roberts. “The state law is very clear on when the number 69 can be used."

Breitenbach appealed the decision, but an administrative judge upheld the rejection, saying the general interpretation of “69” outweighed the one Breitenbach had suggested.

St. George drivers Fox 13 spoke to disagree.

“You know that 69 represents that year,” said Alicia Miller. “It would be something that is significant with the Purple Heart, so I would have no problem with that.”

Breitenbach didn’t further the appeal process. He said he didn’t think it would be worth the time or money.

He did get the Purple Heart license plate, and hopes the tax commission will reconsider additional exemptions, ones that would make reference to the year 1969 acceptable.


  • Cheryl

    I have no idea what the 69 “sexual reference” would be, that’s how sheltered I am. If I saw this license plate, it makes sense that “69” meant the year of service! Sheesh, people!!! Thank you, Vets, for fighting for our freedom!!!

    • David Whittington

      Cheryl – I agree. The Utah DMV seems to have been reading too many Sigmund Freud books – seeing sexual references in EVERYTHING around them. Also, if you want to become ‘unsheltered’ relative to the slang reference in all this, you can just Google ‘sixty nine’ as text and a wiki description will appear.

  • H8bob

    Google 69 you might be pleasantly surprised. Vietnam wasn’t about fighting for our freedom so not sure what you’re thanking them for?

    • David Whittington

      Yo H8Bob – The ‘thank you’ for soldier Brietenbach is for his brave service to his country and getting wounded in battle. MOST of the US soldiers who served in Vietnam didn’t want to be there. The Vietnam War was a HUGE mistake that can be variously laid at the feet of Presidents Kennedy and Johnson and Nixon, but the brave US soldiers who fought in Vietnam had no say in whether or not the US should even be fighting in Vietnam at all. You should be HAPPY a few Americans are willing to become US soldiers and risk their lives in battle while you hide under your bed. Go read a book about the Vietnam War and stop posting your inane drivel here.

  • Michael Durham

    To me a Purple Heart plate with the number 69 on it would Indicate a Vietnam Veteran who served in 1969. Special plates like the Purple Heart plate I believe instill the important information to make numbers represent a date or unit served with. to me CIB 69 is a date the same as Chevy 69.

    • bob

      That was my immediate assumption.

      Do they really thing teenage boys will stop giggling if they outlaw the number?

  • PHA

    Let me guess. These people from DMV and the stink of VietNam War protesters, draft dodgers, and wanna be’s, still trying to denegrate a Proud Veteran’s service. To them, I say that you are disgusting, immature and disrespectful. Shame on you. I firmly believe this decision should be changed. You have disrespected theman, his service, devotion to duty and only serve your own peurile attitudes

  • Buddy Meyer 1st bn 6th inf 198th inf bgd Co A

    isay let the Vet show how proud he is I served 68-69
    If any one knows him till him his Unit is having reunion in Norforkn VA 10/28 thru 11/1/2015
    my e-mail address is if he wants info

  • solocholo

    Come on. Really? Who is the DMV protecting and from what? Poor guy can’t even dispute due to cost and time. Some midieval thinking.

  • Linda Fisher

    This just goes to show you, it’s usually the people in office who imply sexual inuendo. It’s not the people making requests. Utah, likes to think it’s a state that holds itself in higher regard than other states. But when every time a person tries to do something, someone in a higher office denies it, because it’s “offensive”. Give me a break.

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