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Has it really been fifty years? Vietnam was the war of my youth.
It seems like only yesterday when I got my invitation from Uncle Sam; many of my classmates did as well.
Nine million Americans served in Vietnam that is 10% of my generation. The majority of those men and women, six million, were volunteers.
The men and women of the Vietnam War were the oldest and the best educated force the United State of America has ever sent into Harm’s Way.
The first major battle the American forces fought in Vietnam took place on November 14, 1965 when the 7th Calvary touched down at Landing Zone X Ray.
Thirty-seven minutes after landing a severe and fierce attack was launched against them.
For three days, the vastly outnumber forces endured the severe fighting but held out and eventually repelled the enemy forces.
A memorial was built in Washington DC, in honor of the brave men and women who gave their lives in the Vietnam War. 58,318 names are listed on The Wall in the order they lost their lives.
The oldest is Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Kenna Clyde Taylor at 62 years of age.
The youngest is Marine Private Dan Bullock who was 15 years old when he gave his life for his country.
The Wall has the names of three sets of fathers and sons; thirty-nine pairs of brothers; eight women; fifteen clergy; and one hundred and fifty-five recipients of the Medal of Honor.
More than 5,000 Allied troops lost their lives; soldiers from Australia, New Zealand, the Republic of the Philippines; Republic of Korea, and Thailand.
More than sixteen hundred brave military personnel are missing in action.
War correspondent, Joe Galloway, who was awarded the Bronze Star with Valor said, “No one left the jungles of Nam the same way they arrived.”
Indeed, that is true!
As our valiant soldiers arrived home it was not the warm, adoring, honoring and respectful reception their fathers received when they came home from World War II and Korea.
Americans were conflicted about the Vietnam War.
Some were down right angry and hateful about it.
Protests and name calling greeted the men and women who had fought for their country, faced the enemy, and experienced things no human should ever suffer; experiences those protesting could never imagine.
It saddened their heart, wounded their spirit, and deepened the anger they were already carrying. But, as they had learned to do, they buried it, along with a thousand other things they never wanted to remember.
Here it is fifty years later.
My Brothers-in-Arms are a shrinking portion of the American population, as three hundred and ninety of our brothers die every day.
July 31, 2017, President Trump honored one of our brothers 48 years after he had served in ‘Nam as an Army Medic, Specialist 5. Private 1st Class James C. McCloughan landed with Charlie Company, May 13, 1969, near Tam Ky and Nui Yon Hill.
They immediately came under fire and two helicopters were shot down. He ran over 100 meters of open field under heavy fire and pulled a wounded soldier to safety.
McCloughan gave medical care to his wounds and gave care to several others.
Over the next forty-eight hours he rescued ten men and gave medical aid to dozens of others, including saving the lives of two men.
He took out an enemy grenade launcher with a hand grenade; held a light for a night drop of much needed supplies; all the while he was under withering enemy fire and personally suffered multiple wounds from shrapnel across his back and legs as well as other bullet wounds.
On Wednesday, October 17, 2018, Sgt. Maj. John L. Canley became the 300th Marine to receive the Medal of Honor.
President Donald Trump presented him with the medal for heroic measures taken January 31st to February 6,1968 during the battle for Hue City, in the early days of the Tet Offensive.
Sgt. Maj. Canley was the gunnery sergeant but when the company commander was seriously wounded, he assumed command, even though he was wounded himself.
Out-numbered one hundred and fifty US Marines to ten thousand Viet Cong, Alpha Company fought off multiple enemy attacks.
Sgt. Maj. Canley carried multiple wounded soldiers to safety while under intense enemy fire; including scaling a wall while under enemy fire to rescue wounded marines and carry them to safety.
It’s late in coming.
Brothers and Sisters we honor and respect you.
Thank you for the many sacrifices and for your service for our country.
We love you.
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