Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Chief Master Sgt. Richard Etchberger Recieves Posthumas MEDAL OF HONOR

h/t from Threedonia post:

Chief Master Sgt. Richard L. “Dick” Etchberger, an Air Force senior NCO who was killed after saving the lives of some of his crew during a fierce battle at a radar site in Laos 42 years ago, will receive the Medal of Honor Sept. 21 in a White House ceremony. From the New York Daily News:

His mission was the blackest of black ops in a secret war, so the government made him a civilian to do it.

More than a decade after he died in action, the Air Force made him a sergeant again, so he could be eligible for the Medal of Honor.

President Obama will take down the last veil surrounding the Vietnam War-era case on Tuesday in a White House ceremony.

Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Richard Etchberger of Hamburg, Pa., will finally, and posthumously, receive the nation’s highest award for the “conspicuous gallantry” he displayed on a jungle mountaintop in Laos on March 11, 1968.

“He should have a 55-gallon drum full of medals,” retired Tech. Sgt. John Daniel, 71, of La Junta, Colo., told the Air Force.

“I wouldn’t be alive without him,” said Daniel, one of three badly wounded “civilians” hoisted aboard a rescue chopper by Etchberger.

“We’re righting a wrong here,” said Rep. Earl Pomeroy (D-N.D.), who lobbied on behalf of Etchberger’s battle buddies to restore his eligibility for the award. “An American hero is finally getting the recognition he should have had years ago.”

That recognition was personally denied by President Lyndon B. Johnson, according to Air Force historians. To honor Etchberger would have been to admit the CIA and its front, Air America, were running a secret war in Laos, and the politics of the time wouldn’t allow it.

Etchberger’s family was told a lie – that he died in a helicopter crash in Vietnam.

Tuesday's Ceremony h/t MR -IBA


William Stout said...

It says something that the vast majority of people to whom the Medal of Honor are awarded receive it posthumously. That in this world there are dangers so lethal that survival is improbable, yet there are those who would risk their own life so that others may live. To have delayed awarding Chief Master Sergeant Etchberger the Medal of Honor for so long is a tragedy in and of itself.

His actions on the field of battle deserve the recognition of his nation and his family deserves to know the truth that he died saving the lives of his fellow servicemen. He is a hero. All too often we term such actions uncommon valor. The truth is that it is a matter of uncommon love. A love of nation, a love of comrades, and a love of freedom.

midnight rider said...

I'm glad you saw this. I wanted to send you an email with my post's link but then life got in the way.

MK said...

Much of the heroism displayed by our soldiers goes unnoticed and unacknowledged. Good to see this soldiers valor has finally been recognized. Rest in peace.

christian soldier said...

WS- yes-even a preponderance of those who left the field of battle alive-are not given the deserved medal until they have left this world-I don't get it either...

MR-thank you - my friend-thanks for posting it at IBA-and for the video (even though bho is in it grrrrrr- our BEST deserve it..

MK-Yes-you are so right!! I guess it is up to us in the blog world to acknowledge our BEST...