Action near Dak To...

Discussion in 'Academy/Military News' started by scoutpilot, Jun 29, 2012.

  1. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    42 years ago today. Currahee, soldier!

    The Medal of Honor citation reads...

    For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Sp4c. Herda (then Pfc.) distinguished himself while serving as a grenadier with Company A. Company A was part of a battalion-size night defensive perimeter when a large enemy force initiated an attack on the friendly units. While other enemy elements provided diversionary fire and indirect weapons fire to the west, a sapper force of approximately 30 men armed with hand grenades and small charges attacked Company A's perimeter from the east. As the sappers were making a last, violent assault, 5 of them charged the position defended by Sp4c. Herda and 2 comrades, 1 of whom was wounded and lay helpless in the bottom of the foxhole. Sp4c. Herda fired at the aggressors until they were within 10 feet of his position and 1 of their grenades landed in the foxhole. He fired 1 last round from his grenade launcher, hitting 1 of the enemy soldiers in the head, and then, with no concern for his safety, Sp4c. Herda immediately covered the blast of the grenade with his body. The explosion wounded him grievously, but his selfless action prevented his 2 comrades from being seriously injured or killed and enabled the remaining defender to kill the other sappers. By his gallantry at the risk of his life in the highest traditions of the military service, Sp4c. Herda has reflected great credit on himself, his unit, and the U.S. Army.
     
  2. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

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    Sp4 Herda- threw himself on a Hand Grenade and survived. I often wonder- what drives someone to perform such unbelievable acts? When you go thru the list of MoH citations you are struck by guys consciously sacrificing themselves to save their fellow soldiers. True Heroism- to undertake an action that you know is likely to result in your own death or serious wounding in order to protect your comrades. The World is a better place for the Sp4 Herda's and all of the others who perform those unbelievable acts.

    This action wasn't in what they refer to as the "Battle of Dak To" which occured in Nov 1967. Sometimes people don't realize just how big a war Vietnam was. In the Battle of DakTo, which was fought primarily by paratroopers of the 173d Abn Bde; the US had 376 killled or missing and 1500 wounded. Attacking up Hill 875; the 2-503d Abn Inf Bn (Rock Force!) of the 173d sustained casualties of 87 KIA/3 MIA and 130 WIA - with almost nothing to show for securing the hill. Next time you go to DC- go by the Wall-58,000 names on that wall- it's almost staggering in its impact.
     
  3. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe Member

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    This thread brought up one of my best memories of my time in the service; forgive me for my rambling story to follow:

    Back in 1977 I was a new Ensign in the USCG, a mustang from the enlisted ranks. I was attached to the Chief of Protocol’s Office at the White House....through the USCG Presidential Honor Guard; there was one from each service.

    The night before the Inauguration for Jimmy Carter there was a reception for Medal of Honor Recipients, I can't remember how many were there but the hall was full. The reception lasted about 1 1/2 hours with speeches from past and soon to be administrations. Once the official reception was over we were able to mingle and talk one on one, this one of the most moving experiences I had in the service. We listened to the stories and were amazed at the courage and honor these men possessed. These men were in no hurry to leave and we soaked up every word. Now, it was not all a solemn occasion, how could it be when the ringleader of the group was Pappy Boyington. I remember about an hour after the speeches were over Pappy, he insisted everyone call him Pappy, called a couple of us over and took us in the back room where they kept the liquor, you see where this is going. He had us help him grab about 6 large bottles of the finest whiskey I had ever had and take it out to the main room. An Army major stopped me in my tracks and told me to take it back...Pappy and a couple of his friends came back and asked the Major if he was really going to make them put it back...the Major smiled and went along his way.

    We sat in that room for at least 3 hours, drinking that whiskey with the bravest men I had ever met, it’s something I will never forget. When we would ask them what went through their mind at the time they just responded, “Nothing, it was just the right thing to do at the time”. We were in awe of these men.

    The party didn’t end that night, Pappy got us invitations to one of the Inaugural Balls after the Inauguration. When we arrived that night we were quick to find Pappy and the others from the night before. Pappy was holding court at a couple large tables, the conversations continued only now we talked about what they were all doing now. Pappy told me and a young Navy LTJG that we should be dancing, he got up and told us to wait right there, who were we to argue. Pappy came back with two very lovely ladies in tow and said you 4 need to be dancing. While we were dancing I asked my partner what she did, she said “Well I’m not really working right now, I’m Miss America so I just do a lot of touring around”, Pappy had great taste.

    I have to say, if anyone remembers that old TV show Bah Bah Black Sheep, with Robert Conrad, the personality of the character he played was spot on for Pappy, the man could control a room.

    These men are true heroes, they don’t dunk basketballs, make touchdowns, or hit home runs, these men made the world a better place with their character and honor. I was a better person after that experience and have never forgot the true meaning of the word hero.

    I apologize again for the rambling story, this thread just brought back some good memories.
     
  4. NorwichDad

    NorwichDad Member

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    Not rambling. Incredibly great story!
     
  5. AF6872

    AF6872 Member

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    They do it for the guy next to them.:thumb:
     
  6. Aglahad

    Aglahad Member

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    I definitely remember that TV show as a kid and the subsequent stories my dad told of the air war in the Pacific. Good times!
     

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