Tuesday, April 15, 2014

President Obama will award Former Army Sgt. Kyle J. White the Medal of Honor on May 13, 2014


On May 13, 2014, President Barack Obama will award Kyle J. White, a former active duty Army Sergeant, the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry.  Sergeant White will receive the Medal of Honor for his courageous actions while serving as a Platoon Radio Telephone Operator assigned to C Company, 2nd Battalion (Airborne), 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade, during combat operations against an armed enemy in Nuristan Province, Afghanistan on November 9, 2007.

Members of 1st Platoon, Chosen Company, 2nd Battalion (Airborne), 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade, pause for a photo in at Forward Operating Base Blessing, Afghanistan, May 2008. Photo courtesy of Kyle White

Sergeant White will be the seventh living recipient to be awarded the Medal of Honor for actions in Iraq or Afghanistan.  He and his family will join the President at the White House to commemorate his example of selfless service.

PERSONAL BACKGROUND:

Former Sergeant Kyle J. White separated from the Army on July 8, 2011.  He currently lives in Charlotte, NC, where he works as an Investment Analyst.

Sergeant White enlisted in the Army in February 2006 as an Infantryman.   After completion of training at Ft Benning, he was assigned to Vicenza, Italy, with 2nd Battalion (Airborne) 503rd Infantry "The Rock" as a grenadier and rifleman which included a combat tour to Afghanistan from May 2007 until August 2008.  Following Italy, Kyle was assigned as an opposing forces Sergeant with the Ranger Training Battalion at Ft Benning.

Sergeant White deployed in support of the War on Terror with one tour to Afghanistan.

At the time of the November 9, 2007 combat engagement, then-Specialist White was a Platoon Radio Telephone Operator assigned to C Company, 2nd Battalion (Airborne), 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade.  His heroic actions were performed during a dismounted movement in mountainous terrain in Aranas, Afghanistan.

White’s awards and decorations include the Purple Heart, the Army Commendation Medal with one oak leaf cluster and “V” device, the Army Achievement Medal with one  oak leaf cluster, the Army Good Conduct Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal with one campaign star, the Global War on Terrorism Medal, the Non-Commissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon, the Army Service Ribbon, the Overseas Service Ribbon  with numeral “2” device, the NATO Medal, the Combat Infantry Badge, the Parachutists Badge, the Air Assault Badge, the Presidential Unit Citation, and the Valorous Unit Award.

Learn more about Sergeant Kyle J. White: Operation Enduring Freedom Army.mil

AMBUSH AT ARANAS

On Nov. 8, 2007, Soldiers of 1st Platoon, Chosen Company, 2nd Battalion (Airborne), 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173 Airborne Brigade, left Combat Outpost Bella by foot to visit the large village of Aranas, Afghanistan, for a Shura meeting with village elders. The American Soldiers weren't thrilled about the mission because the villagers had been suspected of collusion which resulted in a major attack months earlier on COP Ranch House which resulted in 11 wounded and the closure of the outpost.

Under cover of a pitch-black sky, the team made for the American-built schoolhouse on the edge of the village where they would bunk for the night.

At daybreak, Nov. 9, the group prepared for the late morning meeting at the mosque, but villagers delayed the get-together, saying the elders were praying for several hours. The meeting was put off until early afternoon, about 1:30 p.m.

White recalled that village turnout for the Shura was unusually large as were the number of questions being asked. The Soldiers were hopeful about the level of interest from the young village males of fighting age. Then the 20-year old White said the interpreter was receiving radio traffic in a language he didn't understand. The lone Marine and embedded training team member Sgt. Phillip A. Bocks then advised platoon leader 1st Lt. Matthew C. Ferrara, it was best leave the area.

"There was one shot, you know, down into the valley, and then it was two shots, and then it was full-automatic fire and RPGs ... it was coming from multiple directions," White remembered. Carrying a fully-automatic M4A1, White emptied his 30-round magazine, then loaded another, but he didn't get a chance to fire.

"An RPG hit right behind my head and knocked me unconscious ... it was just lights out ... when I woke up, I was face-down on a rock," he said, recalling that as he was awakening, an enemy round fragmented near his head sending a shower of broken rock chips and debris into the side of his face. "I didn't feel pain at all, just numb like when you go to the dentist."

More shots, more booms, more chaos ... then White realized 10 of the 14-man American element and the ANA soldiers were gone. With no cover, the remainder of the patrol had been forced to slide more than 150 feet down the side of a rocky cliff.

The only ones remaining up top were Spc. Kain Schilling, Ferrara, Bocks, the interpreter and White. Then White looked around and saw Schilling had been shot in the upper right arm and was dodging and weaving and running toward the cover of shrubs and the umbrella canopy of a single prickly tree. White made for the tree which provided just enough shade to make the two Soldiers nearly invisible.

White pulled out a tourniquet and asked Schilling, who was grimacing with pain, if he could apply it. White could see where the bullet entered and the blood was flowing from, so he slipped the tourniquet on and instead of cranking down too hard, White said he tightened it just enough to stop the bleeding.

"As I was working on him, I had the radio on, then I rolled over and sat next to Schilling just to take my pack off, that's when I got that metallic taste, then that burning in my lungs," White said, adding that he and Kain covered their mouths with their shirts to filter whatever it was.

"Initially, I thought we were the first unlucky bastards to have chemical weapons on us ... that's what we thought initially, but then I saw a stream of smoke over my shoulder and I realized my pack was smoldering -- it was the battery from my radio burning up," he said.

White checked his radio, then grabbed Schilling's radio, but both were out of the fight. Then White saw Bocks, who was badly wounded, lying out in the open, about 30 feet from the shade of the tree. He began encouraging the Marine to use all the strength he could, but Bocks couldn't make any progress.

"I knew he needed help and there was a lot of fire coming in, but it really didn't matter at that point, but by then I already had known, well, shit, we're not gonna make it through this one; it's just a matter of time before I'm dead," White said. "I figured, if that's going to happen, I might as well help someone while I can."

White sprinted the 30 feet to Bocks as rounds skipped around his feet and snapped past his head, but he made it to Bocks unscathed, but remembered thinking, his wounds were severe. He looked over at Schilling and yelled at the interpreter to attend to the Soldier, but the interpreter was pinned down and couldn't move.

"At that time, I can remember thinking he wasn't going to make it, but I knew I wasn't going to stop trying," White said. "No matter what the outcome, I'm going to do what I can with what I have."

White grabbed the buddy carry handle on the back of Bocks' vest and began pulling the 200-pound plus Marine toward cover. He realized that the enemy was now shooting directly at him and further endangering Bocks, so he ran back to cover, waited until fire died down, then ran out again repeating the process four times until Bocks was under cover.

White saw that Bocks' leg was bleeding badly, so he grabbed another tourniquet out of his pack, slipped it around Bocks' leg and tightened down until the bleeding stopped. Next he tore Bocks' shirt open, saw another wound, but it wasn't until he rolled him over that he saw the large exit wound. "Stop the bleeding" is all he thought as he stuffed bandages, clothing, whatever he could to stop the bleeding. No matter what White did, the bleeding wasn't stopping and the Marine succumbed to his wounds.

No sooner had White realized Bocks had passed than he looked over to see Schilling get hit again by small-arms fire, this time in the left leg. White scrambled to Schilling. Out of tourniquets, White pulled his belt from his ACUs and looped it around Schilling's leg.

"Hey man, this is going to hurt," he said to Schilling who replied, "'Just do it,' so I put my foot on his leg and pulled the belt as hard as I could until the bleeding stopped."

White next looked around for the lieutenant and noticed his platoon leader, Ferrara, was lying still, face-down on the trail. Again, White exposed himself to fire, this time crawling to Ferrara's position. The lieutenant was dead, so White moved back to Schilling where he began to use Schilling's radio until an enemy round zipped right through the hand-mic blowing it out of his hand. Now both Soldiers' radios had been destroyed.

The paratrooper moved to Bocks and found that his radio was still operational, so he established communication with friendly elements and rendered a situation report. He understood the situation well enough that he was able to bring in mortars, artillery, air strikes and helicopter gun runs to keep the enemy from massing on friendly positions.

"I heard a hiss, just a second of a hiss and then a big, big explosion and that one brought me to my knees," he said. "It scrambled my brains a little bit."

That was concussion No. 2 for the day, caused by a friendly 120-mm mortar round that fell a little short of its target.

After nightfall, White began giving the interpreter commands to relay to the ANA to establish themselves as a security perimeter. Medevac was still a few hours away, so White kept telling Schilling to stay awake as he consolidated sensitive items -- radios and weapons in a central location to ensure no equipment would be lost to the enemy.

While trying to keep Schilling from falling asleep, White battled his own multiple concussions. He knew if he passed out, the helicopters wouldn't be able to find them or the two wounded ANA soldiers who White had also treated.

Eventually, White marked the landing zone and assisted the flight medic in hoisting the wounded into the helicopter. Only after all wounded were off the trail did White allow himself to be evacuated.

While many ANA and fellow Soldiers were injured on that autumn day nearly seven years ago, five American Soldiers and one Marine died during the battle which White and Schilling say they have never forgotten and never will.



Each of the surviving Soldiers of the Battle of Aranas wears a stainless steel wristband with the names of those who didn't come home: 1st Lt. Matthew C. Ferrara, Sgt. Jeffery S. Mersman, Spc. Sean K.A. Langevin, Spc. Lester G. Roque, Pfc. Joseph M. Lancour and Marine Sgt. Phillip A. Bocks.

AFTERMATH & LIFE TODAY

The only child of a Vietnam era Special Forces Soldier and his wife, White first wanted to join the Marine Corps in 2006. His father convinced his 19-year-old son -- who grew up hunting, fishing and snowboarding -- to go Army and to be a paratrooper. In February 2006, he signed on as an infantryman.

Following airborne training at Fort Benning, Ga., White was assigned to Vincenza, Italy, with 2nd Battalion (Airborne), 503rd Infantry as a grenadier and rifleman. While with the 503rd, White was deployed to Afghanistan as a platoon radio telephone operator from May 2007 until August 2008. He next served as an opposing forces sergeant with the Ranger Training Battalion at Fort Benning.

He separated from the Army on July 8, 2011, and used his G.I. Bill to attend the University of North Carolina at Charlotte from which he received a bachelor's degree. Today, he works as an investment analyst at The Royal Bank of Canada in Charlotte.

Former Spc. Kain D. Schilling who was shot twice, credits White with saving his life. He said before White patched him up with two tourniquets, he didn't think he had a chance of getting out of the ambush.

Today, he's well and serves as an armed security officer in Palo, Iowa. Like White, he was also just 20 at the time of the battle. While White and Schilling were friends before the battle, they've become even closer friends who experienced a major trauma and the horror of war.

"Kyle still comes up once a year because he knows I have a family and it's hard for me to break away, so he comes to me ... that's really cool," Schilling said, adding that he'll be at the ceremony. "I consider him my best friend. We're still very close after these seven years."

Schilling said that while White didn't actually get hit by any enemy rounds, his pack was shot up and his weapon was also shot more than a few times.

"I just want people to know, the fire he moved through was just absolutely ... I can't even describe how intense it was, that's what amazed me, how he went to get Bocks so many times -- faster than a speeding bullet -- he's definitely lucky and so am I."

Flashback: Valor 28 WWII veterans in Medal of Honor ceremony August 23, 1945

President Harry S. Truman decorating a soldier during a Medal of Honor presentation ceremony in the East Room of the White House, as other recipients and guests look on. In the background, standing directly in front of the candelabra, is Press Secretary Charles Ross. Standing in front of the flag, leaning over the table of medals is Major General Harry Vaughan. Credit: Harry S. Truman Library and Museum
On March 18, 2014, President Obama  awarded 24 Medals of Honor to heroes of World War II, Korean War and Vietnam War, during a ceremony at the White House. It was one of largest award ceremonies since August 23, 1945, when President Truman, awarded 28 soldiers the Medal of Honor in the East Room if the White House. Before a large audience of high ranking military officers and civilians and members of the families of those honored, President Truman tied the highest award of the Nation on each of the officers and men after citations for their individual deeds of heroism were read by Maj. Gen. Edward F. Witsell.

An orchestra from the Army band played before the ceremony in a lobby outside the historic East Room.



Two of the heroes were in wheel chairs. One was Pfc. Silvestre S. Herrera, 28 of Pheonix, Arizona who captured an enemy stronghold after losing both feet in a charge through a mine field in France. The other was Sgt. Ralph G. Neppel, 21. from Glidden, Iowa who lost a leg but continued to fight in the face of a charging tank in Germany, killing 20 Germans.

Ralph Neppel, his new Congressional Medal of Honor around his neck, gets kissed in the White House by his fiancee, Jean Moore Credit: Life Magazine 1945
Another was blind. Applause followed the bestowal of each medal.

At the conclusion of the ceremony, which lasted one hour and fifteen minutes, President Truman stepped up to a microphone and informally told the audience that the men just honored represented a cross section of America - men who loved peace and were able to adjust themselves to the needs of the war.  He said their deeds demonstrated that when leadership is required no matter what the emergency, it comes to the top through the young men of America.

President Harry S. Truman (standing, center) posing with some of the twenty-eight recipients of the Medal of Honor who were decorated at a ceremony in the East Room of the White House. Credit: Harry S. Truman Library and Museum
The heroes came from 19 States and one from Canada. In the group were one lieutenant colonel, three captains, four lieutenants, 16 sergeants and four privates.

Of the 28 recipients, 24 were of the European theater of operations and four earned awards in the Pacific. One was Corregior's "one man army" Pvt. Lloyd G. McCarter, 28, of Tacoma, Washington. He single-handedly held off an all-night counter-attack on Luzon and personally killed more than 30 Japanese during the recapture of the rock fortress in Manilla Bay. The War Department said the large number decorated in a single ceremony was due to the fact that many of the men were severely wounded.

Pfc. Silvestre S. Herrera, Pheonix, Ariz
T/Sgt Bernard P Bell, New York City
S/Sgt Paul L Bolden, Madison, Alabama
First LIeut.Cecil H. Bolton, Huntsville, Alabama
S/Sgt. Herschel F Briles, Ankeny, Iowa
Capt. Bobbie E. Brown, Columbus, Ga
Pfc. Herbert H. Burr, Kansas City
Second Lieut. Edward C Dahlgren, Caribou, Me
T/Sgt. Peter J. Dalessondro, Watervilet, NY
Capt. Michael J. Daly, Southport, Conn.
S/Sgt. Macario Garcia, Sugarland, Texas
T. Sgt. Robert E. Gerstung, Chicago
S/Sgt. James R. Hendrix, Lepanto, Ark.
S/Sgt. Robert E. Laws, Altoona, PA
Sgt. Charles A MacGillivary, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada
Pvt. Lloyd C. McCarter, Tacoma, Washington
Lieut. Col. George L Mabry, Hagood, S.C.
Second Lieut. Donald E. Rudolph, Minneapolis
T.Sgt. Forrest E. Everhart, Bainbridge, Ohio
Capt. Jack L. Treadwell, Snyder, Oklahoma
Pfc. George B. Turner, Los Angeles
First Lieut. Eli Whiteley, Georgetown, Texas
First Sgt. Leonard Funk Jr., Wilinsburg, Pa.
T/Sgt. Francis J Clark, Salem, N.Y.
S/sgt. Clyde L Choate, Anna, Ill.
S/Sgt. Raymond H. Cooley, South Pittsburgh, Tenn.
Sgt. Ralph G. Neppel, Glidden, Iowa
T.4th Class Arthur O . Beyer, Ogena, Minn.

The New York Times and Oakland Tribune Newspaper Archive: August 23, 1945
Life Magazine, September 3rd, 1945
Congressional Record, Volume 151, By Congress

Monday, March 31, 2014

Lenny Kravitz honors uncle and namesake Medal of Honor recipient Pfc. Leonard Kravitz

Music artist Lenny Kravitz talks about his namesake and uncle, Pfc. Leonard Kravitz, in an interview with Sgt. David Rankin of Army Production, Arlington, Va., March 18, 2014.


Music artist Lenny Kravitz paused to reflect on the life and legacy of his uncle and namesake, Pfc. Leonard Kravitz, who received the Medal of Honor posthumously from President Barack Obama, today.

"He's a hero," said Kravitz during an interview in Arlington, Va., before heading to the White House for the ceremony.

Pfc. Kravitz was 20 years old when he was killed in Yangpyong, Korea, in 1951.

He was among 24 Soldiers of Jewish, Hispanic, and African-American heritage who received the Medal of Honor, for valor in the Vietnam War, Korean War, and World War II.

"It's a wonderful thing to be here today to be a part of this and to see him get his honor," said the actor and Grammy-winning Kravitz. "It's part of who I am. I am Lenny Kravitz. I'm very proud to be named after him and carry his name forward. He's a part of me."

Pfc. Kravitz, who was Jewish, is recognized for his actions March 6-7, 1951. He voluntarily remained at a machine-gun position to provide suppressive fire for retreating troops after his unit was overrun by enemy combatants.

He did not survive, but his actions are credited with saving the entire platoon.

"Just to know that he died that way, he made the choice to stay and to deal with the situation. As sad as it is, it was a beautiful action, and the fact that he is now going to get this honor just makes it end properly," said Kravitz.

"He's getting his due. He's a hero and that's what he wanted to do," Kravitz said.

Pfc. Kravitz was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, the nation's second-highest award for valor. But a childhood friend, Mitchel Libman, spent his life campaigning for the private first class to receive the nation's highest military honor for valor, said Kravitz.

Congress considered a bill nicknamed the "Leonard Kravitz Jewish War Veterans Act" in 2001, and finally directed a review of Distinguished Service Cross awards as part of the Defense Authorization Act.

After so many years, Kravitz said he let go of the hope for the Medal of Honor for his uncle. He said he was surprised when he received the news.

"I would have loved for it to have happened when my father was alive," he said, about Sy Kravitz, who died in 2005. Sy and Pfc. Kravitz were brothers.

"But things happen when they're supposed to happen, and you know, it's a beautiful day," said Kravitz.

Kravitz said his father carried around guilt surrounding Leonard's death, since Leonard followed Sy into the military.

"I think that was something my father had to live with, knowing that he did take some of the blame, if not a lot of it," said Kravitz.

Kravitz said every story he heard about his uncle was overflowing with love.

"I wish I had known him. It would have been wonderful if he survived and came home to his family, but this is the life," said Kravitz. "I'm proud to be here to be able to witness this and be with my family."

Kravitz said he has shared stories of his uncle with his own daughter, Zoe. He added that a painting his grandmother had of Leonard now hangs in his home in Paris.

"He was so young when he died. My grandmother didn't talk about him much, but that was her baby son. It was quite devastating for the whole family," he said.

Everything told to him about his uncle was so positive, said Kravitz.

"All the stories were always so wonderful. I even got to know one of his childhood friends who would tell me stories about him," said Kravitz.

Kravitz said his father Sy, whom he described as a "tough" military man, but a "beautiful father," would tell him that he would have gotten along very well with his uncle.

"He always told me that I would have liked Leonard because he was a little softer than he was," Kravitz said with a laugh. "I was addressed like a private for many years."

Lenny Kravitz's sister, Laurie Wenger, received the award on behalf of Pfc. Kravitz.


Lenny Kravitz honors uncle, Medal of Honor recipient

Washington State Honors Medal of Honor Recipients SFC Leroy A. Petry, SSG Ty M. Carter and CPT William D. Swenson

A public ceremony to honor the most recent three Washington state Medal of Honor recipients from Operation Enduring Freedom will be held at the Capitol Rotunda on April 2, 2014 at 11:00 am.

SFC Leroy A. Petry, SSG Ty M. Carter and CPT William D. Swenson all reside in this State and will be joined by at least two of the four Medal of Honor recipients also calling Washington home: COL Joe Jackson, Vietnam; MAJ Bruce Crandall, Vietnam; PFC Thomas Kinsman, Vietnam and PFC Wilburn Ross, World War II.

Governor Jay Inslee will be joined by MG Terry Ferrell, the Commanding General of the 7th Infantry Division at JBLM as keynote speakers.

The 56th I Corps Army Band brass quintet and the I Corps Color Guard will be participating, and the event’s Master of Ceremonies will be the director of the Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs, Lourdes E. Alvarado-Ramos.

The names of Petry, Carter and Swenson will be unveiled at the Washington state Medal of Honor Monument on the Capitol campus following the indoor ceremony, bringing the total of MOH names on the monument to 91 and the total of living recipients in Washington State to seven.

See links below to read their Medal of Honor citations.

The last name added to the State’s Medal of Honor Monument was that of Major Bruce P. Crandall on April 16, 2007.

As of this release there are only six living Medal of Honor recipients from Operation Enduring Freedom in the United States.

MOH recipient Sgt. 1st Class Leroy Petry: Prosthetic arm helps hero stay in Army (VIDEO)
Photos of the Day: Sgt. 1st Class Leroy Petry receives Medal of Honor
Battlescape: Medal of Honor recipient Staff Sgt. Leroy A. Petry and the 75th Ranger Regiment
President Obama to Award Medal of Honor to Army Sgt. 1st Class Leroy Arthur Petry
President Obama presenting the Medal of Honor to Sgt. First Class Leroy Petry (VIDEO and Transcript) -
President awards Staff Sergeant Ty M. Carter the Medal of Honor (Video & Transcript)
President Barack Obama awards former Army Capt. William D. Swenson the Medal of Honor

Medal of Honor recipient Retired Maj. Gen. James E. Livingston toured Marine All-Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 533


Retired Maj. Gen. James E. Livingston (center), a Medal of Honor recipient, takes a picture with Sgt. Maj. Derrick N. Mays (left), the squadron sergeant major of Marine All-Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 533, and Lt. Col. Kevin O'Rourke (right), the commanding officer of VMFA(AW)-533, during a tour of VMFA(AW)-533, March 14. (Photo by Sgt. Marcy Sanchez)

Retired Maj. Gen. James E. Livingston, a Medal of Honor recipient, toured Marine All-Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 533 and spoke with Marines about Marine aviation, March 14.

During a recent visit to Charleston, S.C., he spoke about the beginnings of his career.

"I wanted to be an engineer; I thought I was going to go on to build bridges," said Livingston. "I got my draft notice in 1961 that said, ‘Boy, you’re coming to see us!’"

Livingston recalls that the recruiter who came to see him promised him two things: that he would be in great physical condition and he would have all the beer he could drink. And with that, Livingston recalls, they had him.


After graduating from Auburn University, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in 1962.

Retired Maj. Gen. James E. Livingston (right), a Congressional Medal of Honor recipient, is welcomed by Sgt. Maj. Derrick N. Mays (center), the squadron sergeant major of Marine All-Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 533, and Lt. Col. Kevin O'Rourke (left), the commanding officer of VMFA(AW)-533, during a tour of VMFA(AW)-533, March 14. (Photo by Sgt. Marcy Sanchez)
A year after being promoted to the rank of captain in 1966, he served with the 3rd Marine Division in the Republic of Vietnam in August, 1967.

On May 2, 1968, while serving as the commanding officer of Company "E", 2nd Battalion, 4th Marines, his company launched an assault on the heavily fortified village of Dai Do, which had been seized by the enemy on the previous evening, isolating a Marine company from the remainder of the battalion.

According to his Medal of Honor Citation, he maneuvered his men to assault positions across 500 meters of dangerous open rice paddy while under intense enemy fire. Ignoring hostile rounds impacting near him, he fearlessly led his men in a savage assault against enemy emplacements within the village.

Read More:  In presence of hero By Cpl. John Wilkes | Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort | March 25, 2014

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Vietnam Veterans Day - March 29 2014 pay tribute to the 536,100 who served


On January 12, 1962, United States Army pilots lifted more than 1,000 South Vietnamese service members over jungle and underbrush to capture a National Liberation Front stronghold near Saigon.  Operation Chopper marked America's first combat mission against the Viet Cong, and the beginning of one of our longest and most challenging wars.  Through more than a decade of conflict that tested the fabric of our Nation, the service of our men and women in uniform stood true.  Fifty years after that fateful mission, we honor the more than 3 million Americans who served, we pay tribute to those we have laid to rest, and we reaffirm our dedication to showing a generation of veterans the respect and support of a grateful Nation.
The Vietnam War is a story of service members of different backgrounds, colors, and creeds who came together to complete a daunting mission.  It is a story of Americans from every corner of our Nation who left the warmth of family to serve the country they loved.  It is a story of patriots who braved the line of fire, who cast themselves into harm's way to save a friend, who fought hour after hour, day after day to preserve the liberties we hold dear.  From Ia Drang to Hue, they won every major battle of the war and upheld the highest traditions of our Armed Forces.

Eleven years of combat left their imprint on a generation.  Thousands returned home bearing shrapnel and scars; still more were burdened by the invisible wounds of post-traumatic stress, of Agent Orange, of memories that would never fade.  More than 58,000 laid down their lives in service to our Nation.  Now and forever, their names are etched into two faces of black granite, a lasting memorial to those who bore conflict's greatest cost.

Our veterans answered our country's call and served with honor, and on March 29, 1973, the last of our troops left Vietnam.  Yet, in one of the war's most profound tragedies, many of these men and women came home to be shunned or neglected -- to face treatment unbefitting their courage and a welcome unworthy of their example.  We must never let this happen again.  Today, we reaffirm one of our most fundamental obligations:  to show all who have worn the uniform of the United States the respect and dignity they deserve, and to honor their sacrifice by serving them as well as they served us. 

Statistics:

Total number of U.S. soldiers deployed to Vietnam 536,100
Total number of U.S. casualties in the Vietnam War 58,220
Total number of U.S. soldiers wounded in the Vietnam War 303,644
Total military casualties from both sides 1.475 million
Total wounded from both sides 2.094 million
Total civilian casualties from both sides 4 million
Age of the oldest man killed during the Vietnam War 62
Total number of KIA’s soldiers who were less than 20 years old 11,465


There were  256 Medals of Honor Awarded
170 Army
16 Navy
14 Air Force
57 Marines

** Indicates Posthumous Award
161 Medals of Honor (63%) were presented Posthumously



U.S. Army
**William Edward ADAMS
**Lewis ALBANESE
**Leonard Louis ALVARADO
Webster ANDERSON
**Eugene ASHLEY, JR.
John Philip BACA
Nicky Daniel BACON
John Franklin BAKER, JR.
**John Andrew BARNES, III
Gary Burnell BEIKIRCH
**Ted BELCHER
**Leslie Allen BELLRICHARD
Roy Perez BENAVIDEZ
**Thomas William BENNETT
**Michael R. BLANCHFIELD
James Leroy BONDSTEEL
**Hammett Lee BOWEN, JR.
Patrick Henry BRADY
**William Maud BRYANT
Paul William BUCHA
**Brian Leroy BUKER
Jon Robert CAVAIANI
**Felix M. Conde-Falcon
**Ardie Ray Copas
Bruce P. Crandall
**Michael Joseph CRESCENZ
**Nicholas Joseph CUTINHA
**Larry Gilbert DAHL
Sammy Lee DAVIS
**Edward Allen DEVORE, JR.
Drew Dennis DIX
**Stephen Holden DOANE
David Charles DOLBY
Roger Hugh Charles DONLON
Kern Wayne DUNAGAN
**Harold Bascom DURHAM, JR.
**Jesus S. Duran
**Glenn Harry ENGLISH, JR.
Santiago Jesus Erevia
**Rodney John EVANS
**Donald Ward EVANS, JR.
Frederick Edgar FERGUSON
**Daniel FERNANDEZ
Michael John FITZMAURICE
**Charles Clinton FLEEK
Robert Franklin FOLEY
**Michael Fleming FOLLAND
**Douglas Bernard FOURNET
**James William FOUS
**Frank R. FRATELLENICO
Ed W. FREEMAN
Harold Arthur FRITZ
**Candelario GARCIA
**James Alton GARDNER
**John Gerry GERTSCH
**Bruce Alan GRANDSTAFF
**Joseph Xavier GRANT
**Peter Mathew GUENETTE
Charles Chris HAGEMEISTER
**Loren Douglas HAGEN
**Robert Willard HARTSOCK
**Carmel Bernon HARVEY, JR.
Frank Aloysious HERDA
**Robert John HIBBS
**John Noble HOLCOMB
Joe Ronnie HOOPER
**Charles E. HOSKING, JR.
Robert Lewis HOWARD
**George Alan INGALLS
Jack Howard JACOBS
Don JENKINS
Delbert Owen JENNINGS
Lawrence JOEL
Dwight Hal JOHNSON
**Donald Ray JOHNSTON
**Stephen E.  KAROPCZYC
**Terry Teruo KAWAMURA
Kenneth Michael KAYS
**John James KEDENBURG
Leonard Bert KELLER
Thomas James KINSMAN
Paul Ronald LAMBERS
George Charles LANG
**Garfield M.  LANGHORN
**Joseph Guy LAPOINTE, JR.
**Billy Lane LAUFFER
**Robert David LAW
**Milton Arthur LEE
**Robert Ronald LEISY
Peter Charles LEMON
**Matthew LEONARD
Charles James (Angelo) LITEKY
Gary Lee LITTRELL
**Donald Russell LONG
**Carlos James LOZADA
**Andre Cavaro LUCAS
Allen James LYNCH
Walter Joseph MARM, JR.
Finnis Dawson McCLEERY
**Phill Gene McDONALD
**Ray McKIBBEN
**Thomas Joseph McMAHON
David Herbert McNERNEY
**Edgar Lee McWETHY, JR.
**Don Leslie MICHAEL
Franklin Douglas MILLER
**Gary Lee MILLER
**Frankie Zoly MOLNAR
**James Howard MONROE
Charles Bedford MORRIS
Melvin MORRIS
**Robert Charles MURRAY
**David Paul NASH
Michael Joseph NOVOSEL
**Milton Lee OLIVE, III
**Kenneth Lee OLSON
Robert Martin PATTERSON
Richard Allen PENRY
**Danny John PETERSEN
**Larry Stanley PIERCE
**Riley Leroy PITTS
**William David PORT
**Robert Leslie POXON
**Robert Joseph PRUDEN
**Laszlo RABEL
Rascon, Alfred
Ronald Eric RAY
**Anund Charles ROARK
Gordon Ray ROBERTS
**James W. ROBINSON, JR.
Louis Richard ROCCO
Jose RODELA
Charles Calvin ROGERS
**Euripides RUBIO
**Leslie Halasz SABO, Jr.
**Hector SANTIAGO-COLON
**Ruppert Leon SARGENT
Clarence Eugene SASSER
**William Wayne SEAY
**Daniel John SHEA
**Clifford Chester SIMS
**George Kenton SISLER
**Donald Sidney SKIDGEL
**Elmelindo Rodriques SMITH
James Michael SPRAYBERRY
**Russell Albert STEINDAM
**Jimmy Goethel STEWART
**Lester Raymond STONE, JR.
**Mitchell William STOUT
**Robert Francis STRYKER
Kenneth Edward STUMPF
**Jon SWANSON
James Allen TAYLOR
Brian Miles THACKER
**Humbert Roque VERSACE
**John Earl WARREN
**Charles Joseph WATTERS
**Dale Eugene WAYRYNEN
Gary George WETZEL
**Jerry Wayne WICKAM
**Louis Edward WILLETT
Charles Quincy WILLIAMS
**David Francis WINDER
Raymond R. "Buzzer" WRIGHT
**Maximo YABES
**Rodney James T. YANO
**Gordon Douglas YNTEMA
**Marvin Rex YOUNG
Fred William ZABITOSKY

Airforce 
 **Steven Logan BENNETT
George Everett "Bud" DAY
Merlyn Hans DETHLEFSEN
Richard L. Etchberger
Bernard Francis FISHER
James Phillip FLEMING
Joe Madison JACKSON
**William A. JONES, III
John Lee LEVITOW
**William PITSENBARGER
**Lance Peter SIJAN
Leo Keith THORSNESS
**Hilliard A. WILBANKS
Gerald Orren YOUNG

U.S. Navy
Donald Everett BALLARD
**Vincent R. CAPODANNO
**Wayne Maurice CARON
**Michael John ESTOCIN
Robert R. INGRAM
Thomas Gunning KELLEY
Joseph Robert KERREY
Clyde Everett LASSEN
William L. MCGONAGLE
Thomas Rolland NORRIS
**David George OUELLET
**David Robert RAY
**Marvin Glen SHIELDS
James Bond STOCKDALE
Michael Edwin THORNTON
James Elliott WILLIAMS

Marine Corps
**Richard A. ANDERSON
**James ANDERSON, JR.
**Oscar Palmer AUSTIN
**Jedh Colby BARKER
Harvey C. "Barney" BARNUM
**John Paul BOBO
**Daniel Dean BRUCE
**Robert Charles BURKE
**Bruce Wayne CARTER
Raymond Michael "Red" CLAUSEN, JR.
**Ronald Leroy COKER
**Peter Spencer CONNOR
**Donald Gilbert COOK
**Thomas Elbert CREEK
**Rodney Maxwell DAVIS
**Emilio  DE LA GARZA, JR.
**Ralph Ellis DIAS
**Douglas Eugene DICKEY
**Paul Hellstrom FOSTER
Wesley Lee FOX
**Alfredo "Freddy" GONZALEZ
**James Albert GRAHAM
**Terrence C. GRAVES
Jimmie Earl HOWARD
**James Donnie HOWE
**Robert H. JENKINS, JR.
**Jose Francisco JIMENEZ
**Ralph Henry JOHNSON
**Miguel KEITH
Allan Jay KELLOGG, JR.
Howard Vincent LEE
James Everett LIVINGSTON
**Gary Wayne MARTINI
**Larry Leonard MAXAM
John James MCGINTY, III
Robert J. MODRZEJEWSKI
**William David MORGAN
**Melvin Earl NEWLIN
**Thomas P. NOONAN, JR.
Robert Emmett O'MALLEY
**Joe Calvin PAUL
**William T.  PERKINS, JR.
**Lawrence David PETERS
**Jimmy Wayne PHIPPS
Richard Allan PITTMAN
Stephen Wesley PLESS
**William Raymond PROM
**Frank S. REASONER
**Walter Keith SINGLETON
**Larry Eugene SMEDLEY
**Karl G. TAYLOR, SR.
Jay R. VARGAS
**Lester William WEBER
**Roy Mitchell WHEAT
**Dewayne T. WILLIAMS
**Alfred Mac WILSON
**Kenneth Lee WORLEY

View the Citations on Home of Heroes



Friday, March 28, 2014

Medal of Honor recipient Master Sgt. Jose Rodela honored aboard the USS Lexington

CORPUS CHRISTI - A special ceremony was held aboard the USS Lexington where several veterans groups recognized Medal of Honor recipient Master Sgt. Jose Rodela.

Sgt. Rodela was one of several servicemen who were passed up for the honor because of their heritage. Now that he's finally received it, he says the experience has been overwhelming.

Corpus Christi native and Green Beret Master Sargent Jose Rodela fought for his country in the Vietnam war four decades ago. Today he was showered with many presents and certificates by numerous Coastal Bend Veterans Associations.

"I never expected this. Such a crowd. Really. But I am Corpus Christi so I'm glad to be home," said Sgt. Rodela.

Just a few days ago, President Barrack Obama presented him with the Medal of Honor for risking his life for his men in Vietnam. He says the whole experience was surreal.

"I was choked up, I didn't know what to say. To stand behind me and put that thing around my neck it was... It was awesome," said Sgt. Rodela.

But when he let the moment sink in, Sargent Rodela says it went from a joyous one to a solemn one.
"I was thinking about the people that got killed in that war. That, they're not here. My friends," said Sgt. Rodela.

As for the day, he earned the medal of honor. According to his Medal of Honor Citation, while on patrol he ran into a force of North Vietnamese Troops. Despite being wounded, Rodela repeatedly exposed himself to enemy fire to help his wounded troops. After an 18-hour long battle, they eventually fought off their attackers. 33 in his company were wounded, 11 died.

Read more: Homecoming for Medal of Honor Recipient Master Sgt. Jose Rodela

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