Thursday, 11 November 2010

Veterans Day 2010 - Remembering Tommy, drafted as a 18-year-old boy

Our reader Pallottine contacted me with the following request:

Tomorrow is Veterans Day. And tonight I stood in front of a memorial here at home, that I made up to honor my brother Tommy. Tommy would be 64 this Nov 30th. It make's me get teary-eyed, to stand in front of it, and read the letter's of his heroism. I miss him terribly.

Tommy is no longer with us, he killed himself, after returning home from Viet Nam, he was just 27 yrs old. Tommy was a hero and he served his country well. I regret that I did not know him better.

I talk to him everyday and I know that he listens. Would it be wrong to publish a letter describing his heroism on this blog. If not I understand. I know countless others have similar stories to tell. Honestly, I don't even know if I should. It's such a special day.

Pallottine also told me that his brother Tommy was drafted when he was only 18 years old. We are honored to publish one of the accounts of his heroism. The message by Pallottine touched me deeply. How much better would the world look today if politicians had thought more carefully in the past about starting ill-conceived wars which brought terrible suffering for so many people. Politicians are often fascinated by the might and power of their military machines and at the same time forget the consequences of their actions.

This is one of Tommy's accounts:

(First Oak Leaf Cluster)
Battery A 6th Howitzer Battalion 15th Artillery
Awarded Army Commendation Medal (First Oak Leaf Cluster) with "V" device
Date of action: 10 December 1967
Theater: Republic of Vietnam
Reason: For heroism: On this date, Private First Class Thomas XXXXXXX was serving as a member of his artillery battery's ready reaction force at fire support base "Thunder X", south of An Loc. During the early morning hours, the base received intensive mortar fire, followed by massive ground assaults from three battalions of Viet Cong. When the friendly fire power on the southwest side of the perimeter was considerately reduced due to damaged weapons and casualties, the ready reaction force was sent there to prevent the insurgents from overrunning the bunker line. With complete disregard for his personal safety, Private First Class Thomas XXXXXXX braved intensive small arms, automactic weapons, and rocket fire as he ran to the perimeter, took up an exposed position, and placed devastatingly accurate fire on the attacking Viet Cong. Despite the nearness of the insurgents and the intensity of the hostile fire, he held his position and continued to fire until the enemy force was driven off. His courage and determination under fire were instrumental in preventing the insurgents from breaching the perimeter and contributed significantly to the rout of the Viet Cong force and saving the lives of many of his comrades. Private First Class Thomas XXXXXXX's actions are in keeping with the finest traditions of the military service, and reflect great credit upon himself, the 1st Infantry Division, and the United States Army. By direction of the Secretary of the Army, under the provisions of AR 672-5-1.

OFFICIAL: Frederick C. Krause
Colonel, GS
Chief of Staff.

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