1LT Ford Mays

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Most of my tour was at the Qui Nhon Ammunition Depot with a TDY to LZ English at Bong Son. Our work days were 0700-1900, 7 days a week. The depot was infiltrated and blown up twice while I was there. The most memorable was March 23, 1969 when my CO, CPT Wm. John Ahlum, and our driver, SP4 Jerry Lee Peterson, were killed. Literally by the flip of a coin it was CPT Ahlum and not me. His birthday was the same month, day, and year as mine. In addition to Purple Hearts, they were also both awarded Bronze Stars w/V. RIP

We honor you, Ford Mays.

(#Repost @http://tcvvm.org/project/ford-mays/)

Charles Byers

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Vietnam was just starting to raise it’s ugly head. I had just finished high school and really didn’t want to go to college at this time. My father was a paratrooper in WWII, and even jumped the day after D Day, so I thought anything my Dad could do so could I. So I enlisted in the Army and took my basic at Ft. Polk, La. I was in a airborne basic training group, lots of extra PT and we ran everywhere we went. Upon graduation instead of sending me to Jump School at Ft. Bragg, NC I was sent for my Military Occupational School at Ft. Sam in San Antonio for my basic Medical Training. At this time Ft. Sam was a country club compared to Ft. Polk and I really never wanted to leave their. So after my Basic Medical , I qualified for advance Medical and spent a longer duration at Ft. Sam. I knew with this training that I would probably end up in Vietnam but at least well trained as a Combat Medic. I arrived in Vietnam in July 0f ’68 and was assigned to Charlie Co 2/60th 9th Infantry Division as the Senior Medic. My first duty assignment was at a forward observation area off the Mekong River at a small base camp. I was to oversee the other medics, hold sick call, day and night operations with the infantry and provide medical assistance with some of the civilian population.

I remember my first night in country at my duty assignment. Upon arriving almost at dusk and seeing my platform aid station and my sand bag bunker, my home, I was told that I was the replacement medic because it was just over run by the Vietcong not too long ago. Now it is night and I have to unpack my things in the bunker, no lights but just a small flashlight illuminating my bunker. My field phone rings and as I pick it up, I heard the ” Cinnamon Buns are Ready.” Could this be the code for we are going to be attacked… my first night we are going to be over run. I grabbed my steel pot, my two aid bags and my rifle and waited for the war to break out. I’m not sure how much time had passed but the field phone rang again and this time it was “Hey Doc are you coming over. I baked you some nice cinnamon rolls for you.” Now that was paranoia and that was Vietnam. You were constantly looking over your shoulder everywhere and all the time.

I had 23 days left before I was coming home back to Texas. I was pulled out of the field and was working inside a Battalion Aid station and working with the Battalion Surgeon when we received a message that one of our companies was hit hard and still under attack. They wanted the Battalion Surgeon and two other medics to be picked up and dropped in the rear with extra supplies so we could treat all the wounded. I volunteered and another medic who had nine days left from Louisville, Ky also volunteered for this mission. They picked us up and dropped us in the wrong area in the middle of an ambush with a different unit that had already suffered many casualties. The three of us spread out and started attending to the wounded. I was on my third soldier and I had to perform a field trach. Just as I placed the airway, I was wounded and the enemy fire was all around us. I suppressed the fire as best as I could and tried to drag out the wounded to a small clearing and called for med evac to come in and pick up the wounded.

I got out about 6 o’clock in the evening where I was airlifted to a small field hospital and treated. The following day I was sent to Japan for Surgery and further treatment. It wasn’t till I was in Japan I found out that my fellow medic from Louisville, Ky and with only 9 days left, made the ultimate sacrifice for his country.

I’m proud that I served with all my fellow brothers and I am proud to be a Texas Veteran.

We honor you, Charles Byers.

(#Repost @http://tcvvm.org/project/charles-byers/)

SGT MAJ John L Canley

Nearly 51 years after the battle that would launch John L. Canley into the annals of Marine lore, the retired sergeant major stood stoic in the White House on Wednesday as he received the nation’s highest military honor.

Shouts of “oorah,” the Marine Corps’ legendary battle cry, rang through the East Room and the standing-room-only crowd of Canley’s fellow Vietnam veterans and top military brass cheered the 80-year-old as President Donald Trump presented him the Medal of Honor. The Marines who fought alongside Canley in Vietnam’s brutal Battle of Hue had worked for years to see him receive the award – an upgrade of the Navy Cross that he was awarded in 1970.

Canley is the 300th Marine to receive the medal.

Trump, echoing the comments of Canley’s fellow troops, said Canley had showed throughout his entire life that he was a Marine’s Marine.

He is “a Marine warrior, who is bigger than life and beyond the reach of death. He is truly larger than life,” Trump said before turning to Canley. “There are very few people — brave, brave people — like you, John.”

On Jan. 31, 1968, Canley was suddenly called upon for a job that he never expected to have. With his company commander severely wounded as his unit made its way toward the besieged city of Hue in northern South Vietnam, then-Gunnery Sgt. Canley took control of Alpha Company, a job typically reserved for a commissioned officer.

For the next six days, Canley would lead the 1st Marines unit as it charged into the city to pry it from the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong forces who had captured it during the unanticipated Tet Offensive.

In the midst of one of the most ferocious fights of the Vietnam War, Canley would organize assaults on enemy positions, killing countless enemy fighters as his team retook buildings in the city, according to award citations. Twice, the noncommissioned officer braved fire to scale a wall in “full view of the enemy to pick up wounded Marines and carry them to safety.”

Trump said Wednesday that Canley had saved at least 20 Marines’ lives during that “house-to-house, very vicious, very hard combat.”

“In one instance after another, John risked his own life to save his Marines,” the president said. “He just continued to face the enemy with no regard for his own life.”

Canley of Oxnard, Calif., has credited the Marines that he served with for his receiving the award and his numerous acts of valor during that fight.

The Medal of Honor “means a lot to me,” Canley said in an interview earlier this year with USA Today. “Mostly for my Marines, because we’ve had to wait 50-plus years to get any kind of recognition. It’s not about me. It’s about the Marines who didn’t [receive] the appropriate recognition when we got home.”

Canley did not make a public statement at the White House on Wednesday.

In addition to the Medal of Honor, Canley received the Bronze Star with “V” device for valor, the Purple Heart and the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with “V” device for valor for his service in Vietnam between 1964 and 1970, according to his Marine biography. He retired from the service in 1981 as a sergeant major after serving 28 years in the Marine Corps.

In a brief video produced by the Marine Corps, Canley said it was the men who fought alongside him who kept him going during the Battle of Hue from Jan. 31 to Feb. 6.

“My Marines because they believed in me, they would follow me to death,” he said in the video published Tuesday. “And I have no doubt about that.”

Canley is the seventh person to receive the Medal of Honor from Trump and the third to receive the award from him for actions during the Vietnam War.

All seven Medals of Honor that Trump has presented have been upgrades of previously awarded lower valor honors. While some of them are the result of a Pentagon-ordered review of Post-9/11 valor awards, others such as Canley have been the result of years of effort by friends and family of the recipients.

For Canley, the Medal of Honor upgrade required an act of Congress because of the amount of time that had passed since the war. Rep. Julia Brownley, D-Calif., sponsored the bill approving the upgraded award, which was passed in January.

“Sgt. Maj. Canley is a shining example of why our armed forces are the best military in the world, and his heroism and bravery showcases what being an American hero truly means,” Brownley said last month following the White House’s announcement of the award upgrade. “I look forward to Sgt. Maj. Canley finally receiving this much-deserved honor, and thank him for his unwavering dedication to our nation and his fellow servicemembers.”

© 2018 the Stars and Stripes

We honor you, John Canley.

(#Repost @American Military News)

SFC Jose Rodela

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Medal of Honor recipient Jose Rodela was born in Corpus Christi, Texas, June 15, 1937.

He entered the U.S. Army in September 1955, at the age of 17.

Rodela is being recognized for his valorous actions on Sept. 1, 1969, while serving as the company commander in Phuoc Long Province, Vietnam. Rodela commanded his company throughout 18 hours of continuous contact when his battalion was attacked and taking heavy casualties. Throughout the battle, in spite of his wounds, Rodela repeatedly exposed himself to enemy fire to attend to the fallen and eliminate an enemy rocket position.

Rodela retired from the Army in 1975. He currently resides in San Antonio, Texas.

Rodela received the Medal of Honor, March 18, 2014; Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart with one Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster, Air Medal with “V” Device, Army Commendation Medal with one Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster, Army Good Conduct Medal with Silver Clasp and one Loop, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal with one Silver Service Star, Korea Defense Service Medal, Meritorious Unit Commendation with one Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster, Combat Infantryman Badge, Master Parachutist Badge, Expert Marksmanship Badge with Rifle Bar, Special Forces Tab, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal with “60” Device, Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation with Palm Device, Republic of Vietnam Civil Actions Honor Medal Unit Citation First Class, Republic of Vietnam Special Forces Honorary Jump Wings, Columbian Army Parachutist Badge.

We honor you, Jose Rodela.

(Submission by: Miah Parry. #Repost @Army.mil)

MG Sidney Shachnow

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Maj. Gen. Sidney Shachnow survived three years in a Nazi concentration camp, he deployed twice to the jungles of Vietnam and he was the top U.S. Army officer in Berlin at the end of the Cold War. Along the way, the general became a legendary Special Forces officer, revered by many in the close-knit community of Green Berets. Maj. Gen. Shachnow, 83, who lived in Southern Pines with his wife, Arlene, died Friday, Sept 28, 2018. But his legacy, officials said, will live on.

Born in Lithuania in 1934, Maj. Gen. Shachnow faced oppression in his homeland and found his calling in the U.S. Army after immigrating to America in 1950. He enlisted in the military in 1955 and served for more than 39 years, including 32 in the Special Forces community. His top posts included leadership of the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School and U.S. Army Special Forces Command at Fort Bragg and U.S. Army-Berlin in Germany.

“Maj. Gen. Sidney Shachnow truly lived the American dream,” said officials at the Special Warfare Center and School, which the general commanded from 1991 until his retirement in 1994. “He came up through the ranks from private to major general through hard work and selfless service to this nation and the men and women under his command.”

“Even in retirement, Maj. Gen. Shachnow remained committed to the Special Forces Regiment, serving in a variety of volunteer roles and serving on a number of boards,” officials said. “He continued to provide sage guidance and sound counsel to commanders throughout the enterprise, and specifically here at the Special Warfare Center and School. Maj. Gen. Shachnow cast a long shadow, and we will miss him dearly.”

As a 6-year-old boy, the general was among thousands of Jews held prisoner at the Kovno concentration camp near Kaunus, Lithuania. He lived in the camp for more than three years before being liberated.

In 1994, Maj. Gen. Shachnow told The Fayetteville Observer that the experience of the concentration camp left a deep mark on him. “After I finished that experience, I was very cynical about people,″ he said. “I didn’t trust people. I thought that there is a dark side to people. If you leave things to people, they’ll probably screw things up.″ The U.S. Army helped Maj. Gen. Shachnow regain his faith in his fellow man.

After moving to the United States, Maj. Gen. Shachnow began a new life with his family in Massachusetts, but dropped out of school to enlist in the Army, despite hardly being able to speak English.

He later attended Officer Candidate School as a sergeant first class and was commissioned in 1960 as an infantry officer, according to his military biography. He served with the 4th Armored Division until 1962, when he volunteered for Special Forces. Maj. Gen. Shachnow served with the 5th Special Forces Group and commanded the secretive “Detachment A,” a small team of Special Forces soldiers who operated in Berlin during the Cold War and prepared for possible war with the Soviet Union.

In 1990, Maj. Gen. Shachnow was the commander of all American forces in Berlin when the Berlin Wall was toppled, near the end of the Soviet Union. He told The Fayetteville Observer that the history of the moment was not lost on him. “Here it is the very capital of fascism and the Third Reich. The very buildings and streets where they were goose-stepping and heil-Hitlering and the very system that put me in the camp and killed many people,” he said. “Here we are 40 some-odd years later, and I come back to be commander of American forces in that city and a Jew on top of that… It sort of adds insult to injury, doesn’t it?″

While serving in infantry, airborne, airmobile and Special Forces units, Maj. Gen. Shachnow also earned degrees from the University of Nebraska and Shippensburg State College in Pennsylvania. And he received an honorary doctorate from the Harvard Executive Management Program.

Maj. Gen. Shachnow was inducted as a Distinguished Member of the Special Forces Regiment in 2007. During his military career, his awards and decorations included two Distinguished Service Medals, two Silver Stars, the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, three Bronze Stars and two Purple Hearts, among other honors. He also was honored with the U.S. Special Operations medal for outstanding contributions to the special operations community and is included on the honor roll in the Infantry Officers’ Hall of Fame at Fort Benning, Georgia.

Following his retirement, Maj. Gen. Shachnow authored a best-selling autobiography, “Hope and Honor,” which was published in 2004.

The late Col. Aaron Bank, known as the “father of the Green Berets,” once called Maj. Gen. Shachnow a “determined, dedicated, dyed-in-the-wool Special Forces officer.”

And Bob Charest, a veteran of Detachment A who twice served under Maj. Gen. Shachnow, said the general would be remembered as one of the greatest leaders in Special Forces history. “He stood out throughout his career,” Charest said. “He is quite an icon among Special Forces troops.”

We honor you, Sidney Shachnow.

(Submission by: Miah Parry. #Repost @The Fayette Observer)

1LT John Earl Warren

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Warren joined the U.S. Army from New York City in 1967.

On January 14, 1969, as a first lieutenant, Warren was commanding a platoon in Tây Ninh Province, Vietnam when the unit came under attack. During the fight, Warren fell on an enemy-thrown grenade to shield others from the blast. The action cost him his life.

His official citation reads:

The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pride in presenting the Medal of Honor (Posthumously) to First Lieutenant (Infantry) John Earl Warren, Jr. (ASN: 0-5347373), United States Army (Reserve), for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty at the cost of his life while serving as a platoon leader with Company C (Mechanized), 2d Battalion, 22d Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division, in action against enemy aggressor forces at Tay Ninh Province, Republic of Vietnam, on 14 January 1969. While moving through a rubber plantation to reinforce another friendly unit, Company C came under intense fire from a well-fortified enemy force. Disregarding his safety, First Lieutenant Warren with several of his men began maneuvering through the hail of enemy fire toward the hostile positions. When he had come to within six feet of one of the enemy bunkers and was preparing to toss a hand grenade into it, an enemy grenade was suddenly thrown into the middle of his small group. Thinking only of his men, First Lieutenant Warren fell in the direction of the grenade, thus shielding those around him from the blast. His action, performed at the cost of his life, saved three men from serious or mortal injury. First Lieutenant Warren’s ultimate action of sacrifice to save the lives of his men was in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflects great credit on him, his unit, and the United States Army.

We honor you, John Warren Jr.

(#Repost @Wikipedia)

Henry Ullrich

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I was drafted in 1966 and sent to Vietnam in Jan 1968. I was 20 yrs. old when I arrived in country. I was assigned to the Third Sqdn. Fourth Cavalry, 25th Div. at Cu Chi base camp about ten days or two weeks before the Tet offensive started.

When the Tet offensive started we were sent to Than Son Nhut air base which was about to get over run. Most people in America will never know how close America came to loosing an entire air force base.

We stayed mostly within the Third Corps area of operations. It seemed like the combat was just never ending. Being in the 3/4 cav. we were constantly on the move looking for the enemy. They were never hard to find. The worst day was April 13 and 14 which was Easter Sunday. We started with 32 men in my platoon and when the sun came up on the 14th there was only 3 of us left that could still walk. This was probably the worst day of my life.I still have nightmares about it and still agonize about the lives that were lost for absolutely nothing.

The smell of death, blood, gunsmoke, burned rubber, scorched metal, burned bodies and clothing as well as the sight of all of this will stay with me the rest of my life.

I was once asked if I thought of myself as a hero. I just thought of myself as doing a job which was what I was trained for. However I still think of every one that I served with as heroes many of which were from Texas. They were all heroes in my mind and will always be.

I used to think of myself as lucky to have survived without any serious injuries. This only lasted for a couple of months. Since that time I have always had “survivors guilt”. I have wished for a lot of years that I would never have survived when so many didn’t. This is a difficult thing to overcome.

We honor you, Henry Ullrich.

(#Repost @http://tcvvm.org/project/henry-ullrich/)