Sunday, June 26, 2016

President Obama to Award the Medal of Honor, Monday, July 18, 2016

Helicopter Pilot in Vietnam War to be Honored

The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release June 21, 2016


WASHINGTON, DC – On Monday, July 18, 2016, President Barack Obama will award Lieutenant Colonel (Ret.) Charles Kettles, U.S. Army, the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry. 

Lieutenant Colonel (Ret.) Kettles will receive the Medal of Honor for his actions while serving as a Flight Commander assigned to 176th Aviation Company (Airmobile) (Light), 14th Combat Aviation Battalion, Americal Division. Then-Major Kettles distinguished himself in combat operations near Duc Pho, Republic of Vietnam, on May 15, 1967.  He led a platoon of UH-1Ds to provide support to the 1st Brigade, 101st Airborne Division, during an ambush by a battalion-sized enemy force.  After leading several trips to the hot landing zone and evacuating the wounded, he returned, without additional aerial support, to rescue a squad-sized element of stranded soldiers pinned down by enemy fire.  He is credited with saving the lives of 40 soldiers and four of his own crew members.

PERSONAL BACKGROUND:

U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel (Ret.) Charles S. Kettles was born in Ypsilanti, Michigan, Jan. 9, 1930.  Lieutenant Colonel (Ret.) Kettles was drafted to the Army at age 21 while enrolled in Michigan State Normal College (now Eastern Michigan University) where he studied engineering. Upon completion of basic training at Camp Breckinridge, Kentucky, Kettles attended Officer Candidate School at Fort Knox, Kentucky, and earned his commission as an armor officer in the U.S. Army Reserve, Feb. 28, 1953. Kettles graduated from the Army Aviation School in 1954, before serving active duty tours in Korea, Japan and Thailand. 

After leaving active duty, Lieutenant Colonel (Ret.) Kettles established a Ford Dealership in Dewitt, Michigan, and continued his service with the Army Reserve as a member of the 4th Battalion, 20th Field Artillery.  Lieutenant Colonel (Ret.) Kettles volunteered for active duty in 1963. He attended Helicopter Transition Training at Fort Wolters, Texas in 1964. During a tour in France the following year, Lieutenant Colonel (Ret.) Kettles was cross-trained to fly the famed UH-1D “Huey.”  In 1966 he was assigned as a flight commander with the 176th Assault Helicopter Company, 14th Combat Aviation Battalion, and deployed to Vietnam from February through November 1967. His second tour of duty in Vietnam lasted from October 1969, through October 1970.  In 1970, Lieutenant Colonel (Ret.) Kettles went to Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas, where he served as an aviation team chief and readiness coordinator supporting the Army Reserve. He remained in San Antonio until his retirement from the Army in 1978.

Lieutenant Colonel (Ret.) Kettles completed his bachelor’s degree at Our Lady of the Lake University, San Antonio, Texas, and earned his master’s degree at Eastern Michigan University, College of Technology, in commercial construction.  He went on to develop the Aviation Management Program at the College of Technology and taught both disciplines.  He later worked for Chrysler Pentastar Aviation until his retirement in 1993. Kettles currently resides in Ypsilanti, Michigan, with his wife Ann. 

Kettles’ awards and decorations include the Distinguished Service Cross, the Legion of Merit, the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Bronze Star Medal with one bronze oak leaf cluster, Air Medal with Numeral “27,” the Army Commendation Medal with one bronze oak leaf cluster, the National Defense Service Medal with one bronze service star, the Korean Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal with one silver service star and one bronze service star, the Korea Defense Service Medal, the Armed Forces Reserve Medal with bronze hourglass device, the Master Aviator Badge, Marksman Badge with carbine bar, the Valorous Unit Citation, the Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with bronze star, the United Nations Service Medal, the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal with “60” Device, and the Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation with palm device. 

Friday, June 24, 2016

D-Day’s Forgotten African-American Heroes


One million black soldiers served America during World War II. Not one of them received the Medal of Honor.

The sky was thick with smoke and haze on the morning of June 6, 1944, when an explosion rocked a boat packed tight with American troops within sight of Omaha Beach.

Wedged among the five dozen men was a 21-year-old pre-med student from West Philadelphia named Waverly Bernard Woodson, Jr. He was one of five medics assigned to the 320th Barrage Balloon Battalion, the only African-American combat to participate in the Normandy landings. The U.S. Army was segregated during World War II, meaning the 320th was all black except for the top officers, who were white.

Moments before a shell hit Woodson’s landing craft, a mine had knocked out the engine. The second blast felled troops like matchsticks. Shrapnel killed the man beside Woodson, whose own extremities burned. He reached down and brought up a hand covered in blood. “I am dying,” he thought. A fellow medic slapped dressings on his buttocks and thigh as the helpless craft drifted to a stop.

For the next 30 hours, Woodson worked through his pain to save lives. An Army news release credits him with treating 200 men. Other accounts put that figure higher. He pulled the drowning to safety. He patched wounds, pulled out bullets and dispensed blood plasma. He amputated a right foot. When he thought he could do no more, he resuscitated four drowning men. Then he collapsed.
Woodson was nominated for the Medal of Honor, the nation’s ultimate symbol of heroism. He never got it. Instead, the medic was given the Bronze Star, the fourth-highest award for bravery. It would be another half century until an African American received the Medal of Honor for his service during World War II.

There was another soldier whose heroics on D-Day were strikingly similar to Woodson’s. Private Carlton William Barrett landed on Omaha Beach with the First Infantry Division under intense fire. He plunged into the surf and repeatedly dragged drowning men to safety. For his service, Barrett was awarded the Medal of Honor in October 1944. “He arose as a leader in the stress of the occasion,” his citation reads.

To rate the top honor, a soldier must distinguish himself “conspicuously in actual conflict with the enemy.” Private Barrett was not a medic. He was assigned to an intelligence and reconnaissance platoon. It was not his job to save the dying. Perhaps the Army commanders who considered Woodson for the Medal of Honor decided that the medic, though wounded, was merely doing his job on June 6, 1944.

Or maybe there was another reason.

An independent panel of researchers commissioned by the Army in 1993 to investigate why none of the more than 1 million African Americans who served in World War II received the Medal of Honor found no records to indicate that any had been nominated for the high award. They concluded that failure to acknowledge soldiers of color “most definitely lay in the racial climate and practice within the Army.”
Their findings prompted President Bill Clinton in January 1997 to present the Medal of Honor to seven black men who served in World War II. Only one of them was still living to shake the President’s hand. “History has been made whole today,” President Clinton said.
Not exactly. The researchers said they couldn’t recommend other soldiers of color whose service records were missing. Among them was Waverly Woodson. Comparatively few Army records from World War II still exist—as government archivists like to tell frustrated researchers—and the majority of records housed at the Army’s Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, Missouri, were destroyed in a 1973 fire.

Yet during the five years I researched the stories of Waverly Woodson and other men from his battalion, I found an intriguing document revealing that the young man from Philly was nominated for the Medal of Honor.

An unsigned note addressed to “Jonathan” says that Woodson’s commanding officer had recommended him for the Distinguished Service Cross, the second-highest decoration. But the writer adds that the office of U.S. Gen John C.H. Lee in Britain believed Woodson deserved better—the Medal of Honor—and the recommendation was changed to reflect the higher award. The next part of the note betrays the toxic racial climate that existed for African Americans serving in the U.S. Army.

“Here is a Negro from Philadelphia who has been recommended for a suitable award. This is a big enough award that the President can give it personally, as he has in the case of some white boys.”
The note was almost certainly written by Philleo Nash, an official in the Office of War Information, who maintained a prolific correspondence with Jonathan Daniels, an aide to President Franklin D. Roosevelt. A bulging file of their missives can be found at the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library in Independence, Missouri, which is where I saw it.

The Army-commissioned investigators also saw the Nash note, which they concluded was “hearsay,” as one of them told me, and not proof enough of Woodson’s valor .

Indeed, the bar was higher on Omaha Beach compared with other wartime battles. Only four Medals of Honor and 214 Distinguished Service Crosses were awarded for valor on D-Day.

In the Navy, one African American received a high award, though not the highest. Doris “Dorie” Miller was the first hero of World War II—even before the United States officially went to war. The messman was collecting dirty laundry aboard the USS West Virginia in Pearl Harbor when the Japanese surprised the Americans on Dec. 7, 1941. After his ship was hit, Mr. Miller helped drag the mortally wounded captain off the bridge, then jumped behind an antiaircraft gun that he had never been trained to use and fired at enemy planes until he ran out of ammo.

Navy regulations forbade artillery training for African Americans, yet Mr. Miller, the son of a Texas sharecropper, “was blazing away as though he had fired one all his life,” an officer said later. The black press campaigned for a Medal of Honor for Mr. Miller, whose rank was cook third class. He eventually received the Navy Cross, which was at that time the third-highest award (today it is the second-highest).

In the case of Waverly Woodson, the record of the young medic’s heroics extended beyond Army documents. In fact, in the summer of 1944, the shy pre-med student became a star. Woodson’s story trails into June 7, 1944, when he performed one last act of bravery, saving four floundering soldiers whose guide rope broke as they were coming ashore. Then he collapsed. Woodson was taken to a hospital ship where he was treated for his injuries. Three days later, he asked to go back to the beach.

News of the medic’s heroics spread far beyond the beach. Newspaper reporters interviewed him. Back home, a black newspaper hailed him as “No. 1 invasion hero.” Stars and Stripes wrote that Woodson and the medics “covered themselves with glory on D-Day.”

Under pressure to acknowledge the good deeds of black soldiers, the Army issued a news release, dated August 28, 1944, that singled out “a story of a modest Negro American’s heroism.” The release said Woodson was “cited by his commanding officer for extraordinary bravery on D-Day.”

After Woodson returned home in late 1944, he was invited to recount his adventures in a nationwide radio broadcast. His proud father compiled all of the plaudits in a fat scrapbook that Waverly Woodson’s wife of 53 years, Joann, keeps close at hand in Clarksburg, Md.
Waverly Woodson, who left the Army as a staff sergeant, died on August 12, 2005. His grave is at Arlington National Cemetery, where American buries its heroes. His family has started a petition drive to obtain for him the Medal of Honor. U.S. Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-MD, has appealed to the Army to recommend Waverly Woodson for the Medal of Honor.

In June 2015, President Barack Obama awarded the Medal of Honor to an African-American soldier who fought ferociously in the trenches of France during World War I. Sgt. Henry Johnson, a member of the legendary 369th Infantry Regiment—the Harlem Hellfighters—was the Waverly Woodson of his day.

Johnson was lauded by reporters who covered in gripping detail his heroics on a lonely night in May 1918 when he single-handedly fought off a party of German raiders, left with only a bolo knife after his other weaponry was spent. Though he earned the nickname “Black Death” and praise from awestruck white reporters, Johnson won the French Croix de Guerre but never an American Purple Heart, which would have entitled him to disability benefits. He never healed from his battlefield injuries, and died 11 years later in poverty.

At a ceremony at the White House, President Obama paid tribute to a fallen, long-forgotten hero. “It is never too late,” he said, “to say thank you.”

Linda Hervieux is the author of Forgotten: The Untold Story of D-Day's Black Heroes, At Home and At War (Harper). For more on Woodson’s story, go to www.lindahervieux.com.

This article was originally published on June 6, 2016, in the Daily Beast  and is reprinted with permission. 

Monday, May 16, 2016

Can a Medal of Honor recipient teach anything to your kids?


Does Clarence Sasser have anything to teach Minnesota school kids?

The Minnesota House of Representatives thinks he does.

Sasser, a medic drafted into service in Vietnam, is one of the lesson plans created by the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation to try to teach kids that, perhaps, there are lessons from Medal of Honor recipients that kids need to hear.
Clarence  Sasser
Medal of Honor Vietnam
January 10, 1968

The House voted 129-3 to pass a bill that encourages schools that voluntarily provide character development education to include Congressional Medal of Honor history and values in the curriculum.

Here’s a suggested lesson plan based on Mr. Sasser.

Rep. Bob Detter, R-Forest Lake, said the program is being used in Robbinsdale and Columbia Heights school districts, and 59 districts have participated in training, according to Session Daily.

Rep. Alice Hausman (DFL-St. Paul), Rep. Kim Norton (DFL-Rochester), and Rep. Tina Liebling (DFL-Rochester) voted against the measure.

Should people be worried it could be a recruiting tool in disguise, similar to the marketing employed by area sports teams? Maybe.

On the other hand, keep in mind the lesson from Medal of Honor recipient Sal Giunta from his 2014 visit to Eagan.

“War is awful. War is terrible,” he said. “It’s disgusting, and gross, and brutal, and it should always be the last resort, and yet we’ve been doing it for 14 years.”

The foundation says the concepts of the lessons are courage, commitment, sacrifice, integrity, citizenship, and patriotism.

That last one is the most difficult to define since the country struggles constantly to define what it means to be patriotic, a debate that often splits along political affiliations.

They don’t give Medals of Honor to people who protest wars.

by Bob Collins  Minnesota Public Radio

Reprinted with permission. The original broadcast was aired on May 4, 2016, Minnesota Public Radio


Medal of Honor Citation Clarence Sasser​

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Sp5c. Sasser distinguished himself while assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3d Battalion. He was serving as a medical aidman with Company A, 3d Battalion, on a reconnaissance in force operation. His company was making an air assault when suddenly it was taken under heavy small arms, recoilless rifle, machinegun and rocket fire from well fortified enemy positions on 3 sides of the landing zone. During the first few minutes, over 30 casualties were sustained. Without hesitation, Sp5c. Sasser ran across an open rice paddy through a hail of fire to assist the wounded. After helping 1 man to safety, was painfully wounded in the left shoulder by fragments of an exploding rocket. Refusing medical attention, he ran through a barrage of rocket and automatic weapons fire to aid casualties of the initial attack and, after giving them urgently needed treatment, continued to search for other wounded. Despite two additional wounds immobilizing his legs he dragged himself through the mud toward another soldier 100 meters away. Although in agonizing pain and faint from loss of blood, Sp5c. Sasser reached the man, treated him, and proceeded on to encourage another group of soldiers to crawl 200 meters to relative safety. There he attended their wounds for 5 hours until they were evacuated. Sp5c. Sasser's extraordinary heroism is in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflects great credit upon himself, his unit, and the U.S. Army.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

May is a special month for Medal of Honor News.


A time to remember those who served to defend our freedom.  Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Coast Guardsmen.

Too many of our military died on the battlefields.  We should never forget their service.  

Memorial Day 2016 is approaching.  It is the day we honor our great heroes, those who served on Omaha Beach, those who at  fought and died in the freezing cold of Korea  and those who perish in the jungles of Vietnam, in the cities and towns of Iraq and Afghanistan.  

We also take a moment to remember recipients of the Medal of Honor who died in 2015 and 2016.

Hector A. Cafferata, World War II;  Santiago J.Erevia, Vietnam; Tibor Rubin, Korea, George T. Sakato, World War II and Einar H. Ingman, Jr. Korea


The article below originally appeared in the Wall Street Journal​ on May 22, 2015 ​ and Medal of Honor News on May 30, 2015. 


Touch the Names of Those Who Never Came Home


By Jerry Cianciolo

World War II memorials-who notices them anymore They blend into the background like telephone poles.

Chances are your community has a tribute to local men and women who served but it’s
likely you’ve never stopped to visit. Those who fought the Axis powers are out of mind now. “ In three words I can sum up everything  I have learned about life,” said Robert Frost. “It goes on.”
Still, it’s unbefitting that as we pass their chiseled names we fail to acknowledge these patriots for even an instant-especially on Memorial Day 2015, the 70th year after the end of World War II. From high- school history, were all familiar with the vast number. More than 400,000 Americans were killed during the war. Another were maimed or wounded.

They came from nearly every city and town.  And they fell by the tens of thousands at Luzon, Normandy, Anzio, Guadalcanal and Okinawa.“Deeply regret to inform you that your son Sgt.John S-lost his life on March 5th 1943, as a result of aircraft accident. Letter follows. Please accept my profound sympathy.”

Mothers and fathers receiving a telegram like that felt they couldn’t go on-but they did.
The remains of many loved ones were never returned home. Instead they were laid to rest at cemeteries in Manila, Normandy, Luxembourg and elsewhere.

It wasn’t long after V-E and V-J Days in 1945 that thousands of tributes sprang –up in bronze plaques, streaming fountains and granite obelisks. But seven decades have passed since commemorations of these memorials and to most of us now their simply the flag-festooned backdrop for long parades and political speeches in late May and early July.

When the occasion calls for it, we solemnly remove our hats and pay homage to the “ultimate sacrifice” these country-men.  That is a hollow abstraction until put in everyday terms.
Many young combatants who, as the English poet Laurance Binyon wrote, “fell with their faces to the foes” never set foot on campus.  They never straighten a tie and headed to a first real job. They never slipped a ring on a sweetheart’s finger.They never swelled with hope turning the key to a starter home. They never nestled an infant against a bare chest.  They never roughhoused in living room with an exasperated wife looking on. They never tiptoed to layout Santa’s toys.  They  never dabbed a tear while walking their princess down the aisle. They never toasted their son’s promotion. They never rekindled their love as empty nesters.They never heard a new generation cry out, “I love you grand pa.” A lifetime of big and little moments never happened because of a bullet to the body one day in far-off land. For those who crumpled to the ground, the tapestry of life was left unknit. Early on after the war we bowed our heads on Thanksgiving and Christmas. Their loss was raw then. But as years have passed all that’s left are memorials know one notices-rolling credit we ignore as we go about our lives.

But on Memorial Day, we can make a different choice. A moment’s reflection is all it takes to realize that every name on your town’s monument was a real person. One who bicycled the same streets as you, who sleepily delivered the morning Gazette, who was kept after school for cutting up, who sneaked a smoke out back, in the dog days of summer.With just a little imagination, it’s easy to picture yourself as one of those fresh faced-youngsters only you’ve been blessed with a additional 15,000 or 20,000 mornings, afternoons and evenings of life, and a warehouse  of experiences they were denied.

It’s some consolation that a majestic memorial to those who fought the good fight now stands in Washington. But most of us don’t visit the capital often. There’s simpler, more personal way we can show our gratitude to those whose lives were cut short. On Memorial Day with your smart phone turned off-pay a visit to your local monument. Quietly stand before the honor roll of the dead, whisper a word of thanks, and gently rub your finger across their name. The touch would be comforting.

Jerry Cianciolo chief editor at Emerson & Church, Publishers in Medfield, Mass.
Reach him at jerrycianciolo@gmail.com. 
This article originally appeared in The Wall Street Journal on May 22, 2015.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Vietnam War Hero and Medal of Honor Recipient Honored with Statue



Michael Joseph Crescenz (January 14, 1949–November 20, 1968) was a United States Army Corporal (Cpl) during the Vietnam War who posthumously received the Medal of Honor for his actions near the Hiep Duc village of Vietnam on November 20, 1968. Michael was honored with a bronze monument on April 24th 2016 at the Philadelphia Vietnam Veterans Memorial where he shares these special grounds with 646 fellow Philadelphians who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.


Sculptor: Chad Fisher
Photograph:  Bob Castaldi


Medal of Honor Citation:

Cpl. Crescenz distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action while serving as a rifleman with Company A. In the morning his unit engaged a large, well-entrenched force of the North Vietnamese Army whose initial burst of fire pinned down the lead squad and killed the 2 point men, halting the advance of Company A. Immediately, Cpl. Crescenz left the relative safety of his own position, seized a nearby machine gun and, with complete disregard for his safety, charged 100 meters up a slope toward the enemy's bunkers which he effectively silenced, killing the 2 occupants of each. Undaunted by the withering machine gun fire around him, Cpl. Crescenz courageously moved forward toward a third bunker which he also succeeded in silencing, killing 2 more of the enemy and momentarily clearing the route of advance for his comrades. Suddenly, intense machine gun fire erupted from an unseen, camouflaged bunker. Realizing the danger to his fellow soldiers, Cpl. Crescenz disregarded the barrage of hostile fire directed at him and daringly advanced toward the position. Assaulting with his machine gun, Cpl. Crescenz was within 5 meters of the bunker when he was mortally wounded by the fire from the enemy machine gun. As a direct result of his heroic actions, his company was able to maneuver freely with minimal danger and to complete its mission, defeating the enemy. Cpl. Crescenz's bravery and extraordinary heroism at the cost of his life are in the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit on himself, his unit, and the U.S. Army.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Cafferata, Hero of the Korean War and Recipient of the Medal of Honor Dies At 86


Marine Pfc. Hector A. Cafferata Jr., who earned the Medal of Honor at the Chosin Reservoir during the Korean War, died April 12 at the age of 86.

Photo courtesy of MOH Society

Cafferata was a rifleman with Fox Company, 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division, on Nov. 28, 1950. More than 10,000 Chinese troops had surrounded Gen. Douglas MacArthur's U.N. forces at the Chosin Reservoir, including 8,000 from the Marine division. On a frozen, rocky promontory, the 230 or so Marines of Company F had been assigned to protect the Toktong Pass, a narrow escape route through the Nangnim Mountains.


The other members of Cafferata’s fire team became casualties at the pass during the initial phase of “a vicious attack launched by a fanatical enemy of regimental strength against his company's hill position,” according to his award citation.

With temperatures hovering around 30 below zero, the lone warrior rushed from his hooch wearing little more than a light jacket. Armed with grenades and a rifle, he squared off against relentless fire from automatic weapons, rifles, grenades and mortars. When the smoke cleared, Cafferata had killed at least 15 of the enemy, wounded countless more, and forced those who remained to withdraw.

Heavy gunfire and a well-placed grenade announced the arrival of enemy reinforcements later that morning. The grenade landed in the shallow entrenchment in which wounded Marines found cover. The 21-year-old braved the gunfire, grabbed the grenade, and threw it clear of his fellow Marines. Cafferata’s right hand and arm were seriously wounded in the explosion. Despite the intense pain, he continued to fight until struck by a sniper's bullet.

President Barack Obama greets Korean War veteran and Medal of Honor recipient Pfc. Hector Cafferata following his remarks at Yongsan Garrison in Seoul, South Korea, on Nov. 11, 2010. (Photo: Pete Souza/White House)

“Pvt. Cafferata, by his fortitude, great personal valor, and dauntless perseverance in the face of almost certain death, saved the lives of several of his fellow Marines and contributed essentially to the success achieved by his company in maintaining its defensive position against tremendous odds,” according to his citation.

Cafferata was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Harry S. Truman at a White House ceremony on Nov. 24, 1952. He was one of 42 Marine vets to receive the nation's highest military award for valor for actions in the Korean War — 14 of whom were awarded for actions in the Chosin Reservoir campaign. Seven of those awards were posthumous. There are 76 MOH recipients alive today, according to the Congressional Medal of Honor Society.

Cafferata was born on Nov. 4, 1929, in New York City. He played semi-pro football and worked at the Sun Dial Corp. when he enlisted in 1948, according to his obituary. He died in Venice, Florida, just north of Cape Coral, where a junior elementary school was named in his honor. Cafferata is survived by his wife, Doris, and four children.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Medal of Honor Recipient Santiago J. Erevia, Hero of the Vietnam war, Dead at 70.


On this date March 25, 2016, National Medal of Honor Day we remember Specialist Four Santiago J. Erevia, recipient of the Medal of Honor who died on Wednesday March 23, 2016, in San Antonio, Texas.

One of the great heroes of the Vietnam War, Erevia received the Distinguished Service Cross  for his heroism in Vietnam on May 21 1969. On March 18, 2014, President Obama presented the Medal Of Honor to Erevia. It was determined after a review  that Erevia  was a victim of discrimination and denied the Medal of Honor in 1969.

Santiago J. Erevia
Medal  of Honor Citation

Specialist Four Santiago J. Erevia distinguished himself by acts of gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a radio telephone operator in Company C, 1st Battalion (Airmobile), 501st Infantry, 101st Airborne Division (Airmobile) during search and clear mission near Tam Ky, Republic of Vietnam on May 21, 1969. After breaching an insurgent perimeter, Specialist Four Erevia was designated by his platoon leader to render first aid to several casualties, and the rest of the platoon moved forward. As he was doing so, he came under intense hostile fire from four bunkers to his left front. Although he could have taken cover with the rest of the element, he chose a retaliatory course of action. With heavy enemy fire directed at him, he moved in full view of the hostile gunners as he proceeded to crawl from one wounded man to another, gathering ammunition. Armed with two M-16 rifles and several hand grenades, he charged toward the enemy positions behind the suppressive fire of the two rifles. Under very intense fire, he continued to advance on the insurgents until he was near the first bunker. Disregarding the enemy fire, he pulled the pin from a hand grenade and advanced on the bunker, leveling suppressive fire until he could drop the grenade into the bunker, mortally wounding the insurgent and destroying the fortification. Without hesitation, he employed identical tactics as he proceeded to eliminate the next two enemy positions. With the destruction of the third bunker, Specialist Four Erevia had exhausted his supply of hand grenades. Still under intense fire from the fourth position, he courageously charged forward behind the fire emitted by his M-16 rifles. Arriving at the very edge of the bunker, he silenced the occupant within the fortification at point blank range. Through his heroic actions the lives of the wounded were saved and the members of the Company Command Post were relieved from a very precarious situation. His exemplary performance in the face of overwhelming danger was an inspiration to his entire company and contributed immeasurably to the success of the mission. Specialist Four Erevia’s conspicuous gallantry, extraordinary heroism, and intrepidity at the risk of his own life, above and beyond the call of duty, were in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.

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