During comments at the ceremony President Obama said, veterans of the Vietnam era were not treated properly by Americans. Can I get an "Amen" from the crowd! A quick comparison for you: Can you imagine Jane Fonda simulating shooting an Iraqi anti aircraft gun at American planes during Iraqi Freedom and being cheered by most in Hollywood for it and never prosecuted for aiding and abetting the enemy? That is exactly what she did to Vietnam veterans and America followed the lead of many like her.
Many Americans did not even know that we had placed our troops in Cambodia in 1970 to destroy the North Vietnamese logistics network known as the Ho Chi Minh Trail which came from North Vietnam through supposedly neutral Laos and Cambodia into South Vietnam. Members of the platoon described the battle as different than the battles "in country" (South Vietnam) which were guerrilla like skirmishes with the Viet Cong. In the battles in Cambodia the North Vietnamese Army matched us firepower “round for round” and Sabo was killed while protecting a comrade from an enemy grenade, “low crawling” ammunition to his pinned down platoon members and destroying a machine gun bunker.
They described the American B-52 strikes during the battle as “leaving mountains of billowing smoke” and they felt the earth shake. They had air support after their May 5th, 1970 air mobile insertion from helo gunships, F-4 fighters, “Spooky” AC-47 gunships in addition to the BUFFS (B-52s). They lost eight members of their team and “live every day of your life” with those memories. Talking to the platoon members they spoke of the website they created in 2001 as part of their campaign of reaching out to each other. They began healing and in 2003 held their first reunion and “loved ones were never forgotten” and felt that they had friends who where “now my family”.
“Never had a better day in my life”
“Brought back memories”
“Beyond gratifying, never forget it”
What a powerful medicine for this group of veterans! Thank you to the US Army Online and Social Media Division and our moderator, Ms. Ashely McCall-Washington, for this great Blogger Roundtable!
To read more from Secretary of Defense Panetta concerning the Medal of Honor please go to MilitaryAvenue’s Reading Room article, http://www.militaryavenue.com/Articles/Panetta+Praises+Posthumous+Medal+of+Honor+Recipient-39945.aspx
Photo Credits: http://www.army.mil/medalofhonor/sabo/