May 25, 2009

Memorial Day

This Memorial Day weekend, I had the opportunity to attend a commemoration ceremony for eight living Medal of Honor recipients. I had the honor and privilege of introducing my son, Hayes to one of them, Sergeant First Class Gary Littrell.
So that we will all appreciate what it means to earn a Medal of Honor, allow me to tell you about the four days in Gary's life when he earned his medal.
It was April 4th, 1970 in the jungles of Vietnam. After establishing a defensive perimeter on a hill, Sfc. Littrell's battalion was subjected to an intense enemy mortar attack which killed the Vietnamese commander, one advisor and seriously wounded all the advisers except Sfc. Littrell.
During the ensuring four days, Sfc Littrell exhibited near superhuman endurance as he single-handedly bolstered the besieged battalion. Repeatedly abandoning positions of relative safety, he directed artillery and air support by day and marked the unit's location by night, despite the heavy, concentrated enemy fire. His dauntless will instilled in the men of the 23rd Battalion a deep desire to resist.
Assault after assault was repulsed as the battalion responded to the extraordinary leadership and personal example exhibited by Sfc. Littrell who continuously moved to those points most seriously threatened by the enemy, redistributed ammunition, strengthened faltering defenses, cared for the wounded and shouted encouragement to the Vietnamese in their own language. When the beleaguered battalion was finally ordered to withdraw, numerous ambushes were encountered. Sfc. Littrell repeatedly prevented widespread disorder by directing air strikes to within 50 meters of their position. Through his indomitable courage and complete disregard for his safety, he averted excessive loss of life and injury to the members of the battalion. The sustained extraordinary courage and selflessness displayed by Sfc. Littrell over an extended period of time were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit on him and the US Army.
What an honor to meet a real hero like Gary Littrell!

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