Home Search The American Presidency Project
John Woolley and Gerhard Peters Home Data Documents Elections Media Links
 
• Public Papers of the Presidents
• State of the Union
Addresses & Messages
• Inaugural Addresses
• Weekly Addresses
• Fireside Chats
• News Conferences
• Executive Orders
• Proclamations
• Signing Statements
• Press Briefings
• Statements of
 Administration Policy
• Economic Report of the President
• Debates
• Convention Speeches
• Party Platforms
• 2012 Election Documents
• 2008 Election Documents
• 2004 Election Documents
• 1960 Election Documents
• 2009 Transition
• 2001 Transition
Data Index
Audio/Video Index
Election Index
Florida 2000
Presidential Libraries
View Public Papers by Month and Year

INCLUDE documents from the Office of the Press Secretary
INCLUDE election campaign documents
Search the Entire Document Archive
Enter keyword: 


AND OR NOT
Limit by Year

From:
To    :

Limit results per page

INCLUDE documents from the Office of the Press Secretary

INCLUDE election campaign documents

Instructions
You can search the Public Papers in two ways:

1. Search by Keyword and Year
You can search by keyword and choose the range of years within your search by filling out the boxes under Search the Public Papers.

2. View by Month and/or Year
Select the month and/or year you would like information about and press View Public Papers. Then choose a Public Paper and the page will load for you.

Search Engine provided by the Harry S. Truman Library. Our thanks to
Jim Borwick and Dr. Rafee Che Kassim at Project Whistlestop for critical assistance in the implementation of the search function, and to Scott Roley at the Truman Library for facilitating this collaboration.
 
Richard Nixon: Remarks on Awarding the Congressional Medal of Honor to Twelve Members of the Armed Services.
Richard
Richard Nixon
150 - Remarks on Awarding the Congressional Medal of Honor to Twelve Members of the Armed Services.
May 14, 1970
Public Papers of the Presidents
Richard Nixon<br>1970
Richard Nixon
1970
Location:

District of Columbia
Washington
Font Size:
Print
 Report Typo
The American Presidency Project

Promote Your Page Too

Ladies and gentlemen:

I am very honored to welcome this group here in the East Room of the White House this morning, and particularly because this is one of those occasions that is one of the really mountaintop experiences for a President of the United States.

The Medal of Honor has been described many times, and there are no words that can add to the grandeur of that medal, what it means to those who receive it.

I will simply say today that as we think of this great country of ours--particularly in this room, where we see the pictures of President Washington and Martha Washington, who, incidentally, were the only First Family that never lived in this house; it wasn't built until after their term--as we think of the beginning of this country 190 years ago, we think of it as the land of the free. We should all be reminded that it could not be the land of the free if it were not also the home of the brave.

Today we honor the brave men, the men who, far beyond the call of duty, served their country magnificently in a war very far away, in a war which is one, many times, not understood and not supported by some in this country.

I simply want to say to those who receive the medal and to those who are your families, that there are millions of your countrymen who today honor you as I have the privilege of representing them by presenting this medal to you.

I believe also as I stand here, that as time goes on, millions more of your countrymen will look back at the experience that you have participated in and they will reach the conclusion that you served the cause of the land of the free by being brave, brave far beyond the call of duty; so brave that you received the very highest award that this Nation can provide.

We will now go forward with the ceremony, and I understand, incidentally, that as I present the awards, we will move to each recipient and after I present the award to them, I am going to turn around for a family picture with each of them, so if you will all sort of stay in place until we get the pictures taken.

Secretary Beal of the Army will read the citations.
[At this point, Under Secretary of the Army Thaddeus R. Beal, Secretary of the Navy John H. Chafee, and Secretary of the Air Force Robert C. Seamans, Jr., read the citations for awards to members of their respective services. The texts of the citations follow: ]

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, March 3, 1863, has awarded in the name of The Congress the Medal of Honor to

LIEUTENANT COLONEL CHARLES C. ROGERS
UNITED STATES ARMY

for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty:

Lieutenant Colonel Charles C. Rogers, Field Artillery, distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action on I November 1968, while serving as Commanding Officer, 1st Battalion, 5th Artillery, 1st Infantry Division during the defense of a forward fire support base in the Republic of Vietnam. In the early morning hours, the fire support base was subjected to a concentrated bombardment of heavy, mortar, rocket and rocket propelled grenade fire. Simultaneously the position was struck by a human wave ground assault, led by sappers who breached the defensive barriers with bangalore torpedoes and penetrated the defensive perimeter. Colonel Rogers with complete disregard for his own safety moved through the hail of fragments from bursting enemy rounds to the embattled area. He aggressively rallied the dazed artillery crewmen to man their howitzers and he directed their fire on the assaulting enemy. Although knocked to the ground and wounded by an exploding round, Colonel Rogers sprang to his feet and led a small counterattack force against an enemy element that had penetrated the howitzer positions. Although painfully wounded a second time during the assault, Colonel Rogers pressed the attack killing several of the enemy and driving the remainder from the positions. Refusing medical treatment, Colonel Rogers reestablished and reinforced the defensive positions. As a second human wave attack was launched against another sector of the perimeter, Colonel Rogers directed artillery fire on the assaulting enemy and led a second counterattack against the charging forces. His valorous example rallied the beleaguered defenders to repulse and defeat the enemy onslaught. Colonel Rogers moved from position to position through the heavy enemy fire, giving encouragement and direction to his men. At dawn the determined enemy launched a third assault against the fire base in an attempt to overrun the position. Colonel Rogers moved to the threatened area and directed lethal fire on the enemy forces. Seeing a howitzer inoperative due to casualties, Colonel Rogers joined the surviving members of the crew to return the howitzer to action. While directing the position defense, Colonel Rogers was seriously wounded by fragments from a heavy mortar round which exploded on the parapet of the gun position. Although too severely wounded to physically lead the defenders, Colonel Rogers continued to give encouragement and direction to his men in the defeating and repelling of the enemy attack. Colonel Rogers' dauntless courage and heroism inspired the defenders of the fire support base to the heights of valor to defeat a determined and numerically superior enemy force. His relentless spirit of aggressiveness, conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his own life above and beyond the call of duty are in the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit and the United States Army.

RICHARD NIXON

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, March 3, 1863, has awarded in the name of The Congress the Medal of Honor to

CAPTAIN PAUL W. BUCHA
UNITED STATES ARMY

for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty:

Captain Bucha distinguished himself during the period 16-19 March 1968 while serving as Commanding Officer, Company D, 3d Battalion (Airborne), 187th Infantry, 3d Brigade, foist Airborne Division on a reconnaissance-in-force mission against enemy forces near Phuoc Vinh, in Binh Duong Province, Republic of Vietnam. The company was inserted by helicopter into the suspected enemy stronghold to locate and destroy the enemy. During this period Captain Bucha aggressively and courageously led his men in the destruction of enemy fortifications and base areas and eliminated scattered resistance impeding the advance of the company. On 18 March while advancing to contact, the lead elements of the company became engaged by the heavy automatic weapon, heavy machine gun, rocket propelled grenade, Claymore mine and small arms fire of an estimated battalion-size force. Captain Bucha, with complete disregard for his own safety, moved to the threatened area to direct the defense and ordered reinforcements to the aid of the lead element. Seeing that his men were pinned down by heavy machine gun fire from a concealed bunker located some forty meters to the front of the positions, Captain Bucha crawled through the hail of fire to single-handedly destroy the bunker with grenades. During this heroic action Captain Bucha received a painful shrapnel wound. Returning to the perimeter, he observed that his unit could not hold its positions and repel the human wave assaults launched by the determined enemy. Captain Bucha ordered the withdrawal of the unit elements and covered the withdrawal to positions of a company perimeter from which he could direct fires upon the charging enemy. When one friendly element retrieving casualties was ambushed and cut off from the perimeter, Captain Bucha ordered them to feign death and he directed artillery fires around them. During the night Captain Bucha moved throughout the position, distributing ammunition, providing encouragement and insuring the integrity of the defense. He directed artillery, helicopter gunship and Air Force gunship fires on the enemy strong points and attacking forces, marking the positions with smoke grenades. Using flashlights in complete view of enemy snipers, he directed the medical evacuation of three air-ambulance loads of seriously wounded personnel and the helicopter supply of his company. At daybreak Captain Bucha led a rescue party to recover the dead and wounded members of the ambushed element. During the period of intensive combat, Captain Bucha, by his extraordinary heroism, inspirational example, outstanding leadership and professional competence, led his company in the decimation of a superior enemy force which left one hundred and fifty-six dead on the battlefield. By his conspicuous gallantry at the risk of his own life in the highest traditions of the military service, Captain Bucha has reflected great credit on himself, his unit, and the United States Army.

RICHARD NIXON

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, March 3, 1863, has awarded in the name of The Congress the Medal of Honor to

CAPTAIN RONALD E. RAY
UNITED STATES ARMY

for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty:

Captain Ronald E. Ray (then First Lieutenant), Infantry, distinguished himself on 19 June 1966 while serving as a platoon leader with Company A, 2d Battalion, 35th Infantry, 25th Infantry Division in the Ia Drang Valley, Republic of Vietnam. When one of his ambush patrols was attacked by an estimated reinforced Viet Gong company, Captain Ray organized a reaction force and quickly moved through 2 kilometers of mountainous jungle terrain to the contact area. After breaking through the hostile lines to reach the beleaguered patrol, Captain Ray began directing the reinforcement of the site. When an enemy position pinned down three of his men with a heavy volume of automatic weapons fire, he silenced the emplacement with a grenade and killed four Viet Gong with his rifle fire. As medics were moving a casualty toward a sheltered position, they began receiving intense hostile fire. While directing suppressive fire on the enemy position, Captain Ray moved close enough to silence the enemy with a grenade. A few moments later Captain Ray saw an enemy grenade land, unnoticed, near two of his men. Without hesitation or regard for his own safety he dove between the grenade and the men, thus shielding them from the explosion while receiving wounds in his exposed feet and legs. He immediately sustained additional wounds in his legs from an enemy machine gun, but nevertheless he silenced the emplacement with another grenade. Although suffering great pain from his wounds, Captain Ray continued to direct his men, providing the outstanding courage and leadership they vitally needed, and prevented their annihilation by successfully leading them from their surrounded position. Only after assuring that his platoon was no longer in immediate danger did he allow himself to be evacuated for medical treatment. By his conspicuous gallantry at the risk of his own life in the highest traditions of the military service, Captain Ray has reflected great credit on himself, his unit and the United States Army.

RICHARD NIXON

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, March 3, 1863, has awarded in the name of The Congress the Medal of Honor to

SERGEANT ALLEN J. LYNCH
UNITED STATES ARMY

for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty:

Sergeant Allen J. Lynch (then Specialist Four), distinguished himself on 15 December 1967 while serving as a radiotelephone operator with Company D, 1st Battalion (Airmobile), 12th Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile), in Binh Dinh Province, Republic of Vietnam. While serving in the forward element on an operation near the village of My An (2), his unit became heavily engaged with a numerically superior enemy force. Quickly and accurately assessing the situation, Sergeant Lynch provided his commander with information which subsequently proved essential to the unit's successful actions. Observing three wounded comrades lying exposed to enemy fire, Sergeant Lynch dashed across fifty meters of open ground through a withering hail of enemy fire to administer aid. Reconnoitering a nearby trench for a covered position to protect the wounded from intense hostile fire, he killed two enemy soldiers at point blank range. With the trench cleared, he unhesitatingly returned to the fire swept area three times to carry the wounded men to safety. When his company was forced to withdraw by the superior firepower of the enemy, Sergeant Lynch remained to aid his comrades at the risk of his own life rather than abandon them. Alone, he defended his isolated position for two hours against the advancing enemy. Using only his rifle and a grenade, he stopped them just short of his trench, killing five. Again, disregarding his own safety in the face of withering hostile fire, he crossed seventy meters of exposed terrain five times to carry his wounded comrades to a more secure area. Once he had assured their comfort and safety, Sergeant Lynch located the counterattacking friendly company to assist in directing the attack and evacuating the three casualties. By his conspicuous gallantry at the risk of his own life in the highest traditions of the military service, Sergeant Lynch has reflected great credit on himself, the 12th Cavalry and the United States Army.

RICHARD NIXON

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, March 3, 1863, has awarded in the name of The Congress the Medal of Honor to

SPECIALIST FOUR FRANK A. HERDA
UNITED STATES ARMY

for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty:

Specialist Four Frank A. Herda (then Private First Class), distinguished himself on 29 June 1968 while serving as grenadier with Company A, 1st Battalion (Airborne), 506th Infantry, 101st Airborne Division (Airmobile) near Trang Bang, Republic of Vietnam. 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 thirty 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, five of them charged the position defended by Specialist Herds and two comrades, one of whom was wounded and lay helpless in the bottom of the foxhole. Specialist Herds fired at the aggressors until they were within ten feet of his position and one of their grenades landed in the foxhole. He fired one last round from his grenade launcher, hitting one of the enemy soldiers in the head, and then, with no concern for his own safety, Specialist Herds immediately covered the blast of the grenade with his body. The explosion wounded him grievously, but his selfless action prevented his two comrades from being seriously injured or killed and enabled the remaining defender to kill the other sappers. By his conspicuous gallantry at the risk of his own life in the highest traditions of the military service, Specialist Herds has reflected great credit on himself, his unit and the United States Army.

RICHARD NIXON

The President of the United States in the name of the Congress takes pleasure in presenting the Medal of Honor to

MAJOR M. SANDO VARGAS, JR.
UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS

for service as set forth in the following

CITATION:

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as Commanding Officer, Company G, Second Battalion, Fourth Marines, Ninth Marine Amphibious Brigade in action against enemy forces in the Republic of Vietnam from 30 April to 2 May 1968. On 1 May 1968, though suffering from wounds he had incurred while relocating his unit under heavy enemy fire the preceding day, Major (then Captain) Vargas combined Company G with two other companies and led his men in an attack on the fortified village of Dai Do. Exercising expert leadership, he maneuvered his marines across 700 meters of open rice paddy while under intense enemy mortar, rocket and artillery fire and obtained a foothold in two hedgerows on the enemy perimeter, only to have elements of his company become pinned down by the intense enemy fire. Leading his reserve platoon to the aid of his beleaguered men, Major Vargas inspired his men to renew their relentless advance, while destroying a number of enemy bunkers. Again wounded by grenade fragments, he refused aid as he moved about the hazardous area reorganizing his unit into a strong defense perimeter at the edge of the village. Shortly after the objective was secured, the enemy commenced a series of counterattacks and probes which lasted throughout the night but were unsuccessful as the gallant defenders of Company G stood firm in their hard-won enclave. Reinforced the following morning, the marines launched a renewed assault through Dai Do on the village of Dinh To, to which the enemy retaliated with a massive counterattack resulting in hand-to-hand combat. Major Vargas remained in the open, encouraging and rendering assistance to his marines when he was hit for the third time in the three day battle. Observing his battalion commander sustain a serious wound, he disregarded his excruciating pain, crossed the fireswept area and carried his commander to a covered position, then resumed supervising and encouraging his men while simultaneously assisting in organizing the battalion's perimeter defense. His gallant actions uphold the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.

RICHARD NIXON

The President of the United States in the name of The Congress takes pleasure in presenting the Medal of Honor to

CAPTAIN JAMES N. LIVINGSTON
UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS

for service as set forth in the following

CITATION:

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as Commanding Officer, Company E, Second Battalion, Fourth Marines, Ninth Marine Amphibious Brigade in action against enemy forces in the Republic of Vietnam. On 2 May 1968, Company E launched a determined assault on the heavily fortified village of Dai Do, which had been seized by the enemy on the preceding evening isolating a marine company from the remainder of the battalion. Skillfully employing screening agents, Captain Livingston maneuvered his men to assault positions across 500 meters of dangerous open rice paddy while under intense enemy fire. Ignoring hostile rounds impacting near him, he fearlessly led his men in a savage assault against enemy emplacements within the village. While adjusting supporting arms fire, Captain Livingston moved to the points of heaviest resistance, shouting words of encouragement to his marines, directing their fire, and spurring the dwindling momentum of the attack on repeated occasions. Although twice painfully wounded by grenade fragments, he refused medical treatment and courageously led his men in the destruction of over 100 mutually supporting bunkers, driving the remaining enemy from their positions, and relieving the pressure on the stranded marine company. As the two companies consolidated positions and evacuated casualties, a third company passed through the friendly lines launching an assault on the adjacent village of Dinh To, only to be halted by a furious counterattack of an enemy battalion. Swiftly assessing the situation and disregarding the heavy volume of enemy fire, Captain Livingston boldly maneuvered the remaining effective men of his company forward, joined forces with the heavily engaged marines, and halted the enemy's counterattack. Wounded a third time and unable to walk, he steadfastly remained in the dangerously exposed area, deploying his men to more tenable positions and supervising the evacuation of casualties. Only when assured of the safety of his men did he allow himself to be evacuated. Captain Livingston's gallant actions uphold the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.

RICHARD NIXON

The President of the United States in the name of The Congress takes pleasure in presenting the Medal of Honor to

LIEUTENANT COMMANDER THOMAS O. KELLEY
UNITED STATES NAVY

for service as set forth in the following

CITATION:

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty on the afternoon of 15 June 1969 while serving as Commander River Assault Division 152 during combat operations against enemy aggressor forces in the Republic of Vietnam. Lieutenant Commander (then Lieutenant) Kelley was in charge of a column of eight river assault craft which were extracting one company of United States Army infantry troops on the east bank of the Ong Muong Canal in Kien Hoa Province, when one of the armored troop carriers reported a mechanical failure of a loading ramp. At approximately the same time, Viet Gong forces opened fire from the opposite bank of the canal. After issuing orders for the crippled troop carrier to raise its ramp manually, and for the remaining boats to form a protective cordon around the disabled craft, Lieutenant Commander Kelley, realizing the extreme danger to his column and its inability to clear the ambush site until the crippled unit was repaired, boldly maneuvered the monitor in which he was embarked to the exposed side of the protective cordon in direct line with the enemy's fire, and ordered the monitor to commence firing. Suddenly, an enemy rocket scored a direct hit on the coxswain's flat, the shell penetrating the thick armor plate, and the explosion spraying shrapnel in all directions. Sustaining serious head wounds from the blast, which hurled him to the deck of the monitor, Lieutenant Commander Kelley disregarded his severe injuries and attempted to continue directing the other boats. Although unable to move from the deck or to speak clearly into the radio, he succeeded in relaying his commands through one of his men until the enemy attack was silenced and the boats were able to move to an area of safety. Lieutenant Commander Kelley's brilliant leadership, bold initiative, and resolute determination served to inspire his men and provided the impetus needed to carry out the mission after he was medically evacuated by helicopter. His extraordinary courage under fire, and his selfless devotion to duty sustain and enhance the finest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

RICHARD NIXON

The President of the United States in the name of The Congress takes pleasure in presenting the Medal of Honor to

LIEUTENANT (JUNIOR GRADE) JOSEPH R. KERREY,
UNITED STATES NAVAL RESERVE

for service as set forth in the following citation:

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty on 14 March 1969 while serving as a SEAL Team Leader during action against enemy aggressor (Viet Cong) forces in the Republic of Vietnam. Acting in response to reliable intelligence, Lieutenant (jg) Kerrey led his SEAL Team on a mission to capture important members of the enemy's area political cadre known to be located on an island in the bay of Nha Trang. In order to surprise the enemy, he and his team scaled a 350-foot sheer cliff to place themselves above the ledge on which the enemy was located. Splitting his team in two elements and coordinating both, Lieutenant (jg) Kerrey led his men in the treacherous downward descent to the enemy's camp. Just as they neared the end of their descent, intense enemy fire was directed at them, and Lieutenant (jg) Kerrey received massive injuries from a grenade which exploded at his feet and threw him backward onto the jagged rocks. Although bleeding profusely and suffering great pain, he displayed outstanding courage and presence of mind in immediately directing his element's fire into the heart of the enemy camp. Utilizing his radioman, Lieutenant (jg) Kerrey called in the second element's fire support which caught the confused Viet Gong in a devastating cross fire. After successfully suppressing the enemy's fire, and although immobilized by his multiple wounds, he continued to maintain calm, superlative control as he ordered his team to secure and defend an extraction site. Lieutenant (jg) Kerrey resolutely directed his men, despite his near-unconscious state, until he was eventually evacuated by helicopter. The havoc brought to the enemy by this very successful mission cannot be overestimated. The enemy who were captured provided critical intelligence to the allied effort. Lieutenant (jg) Kerrey's courageous and inspiring leadership, valiant fighting spirit, and tenacious devotion to duty in the face of almost overwhelming opposition, sustain and enhance the finest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

RICHARD NIXON

The President of the United States in the name of The Congress takes pleasure in presenting the Medal of Honor to

DONALD E. BALLARD
HOSPITAL CORPSMAN THIRD CLASS
UNITED STATES NAVY

for service as set forth in the following
CITATION:

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty on 16 May 1968 while serving as a Corpsman with Company "M", Third Battalion, Fourth Marines, Third Marine Division in connection with operations against enemy aggressor forces in the Republic of Vietnam. During the afternoon hours, Company "M" was moving to join the remainder of the Third Battalion in Quang Tri Province. After treating and evacuating two heat casualties, Petty Officer Ballard was returning to his platoon from the evacuation landing zone when the company was ambushed by a North Vietnamese Army unit employing automatic weapons and mortars, and sustained numerous casualties. Observing a wounded Marine, Petty Officer Ballard unhesitatingly moved across the fireswept terrain to the injured man and swiftly rendered medical assistance to his comrade. Petty Officer Ballard then directed four Marines to carry the casualty to a position of relative safety. As the four men prepared to move the wounded Marine, an enemy soldier suddenly left his concealed position and, after hurling a hand grenade which landed near the casualty, commenced firing upon the small group of men. Instantly shouting a warning to the Marines, Petty Officer Ballard fearlessly threw himself upon the lethal explosive device to protect his comrades from the deadly blast. When the grenade failed to detonate, he calmly arose from his dangerous position and resolutely continued his determined efforts in treating other Marine casualties. Petty Officer Ballard's herioc actions and selfless concern for the welfare of his companions served to inspire all who observed him and prevented possible injury or death to his fellow Marines. His courage, daring initiative, and unwavering devotion to duty in the face of extreme personal danger, sustain and enhance the finest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

RICHARD NIXON

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, March 3, 1863, has awarded in the name of The Congress, the Medal of Honor to

CAPTAIN JAMES P. FLEMING
UNITED STATES AIR FORCE

for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty:

On 26 November 1968, Captain Fleming (then First Lieutenant) distinguished himself as the Aircraft Commander of a UH-IF Transport Helicopter near Duc Co, Republic of Vietnam. On that date, Captain Fleming went to the aid of a six-man Special Forces Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol that was in danger of being overrun by a large, heavily armed hostile force. Despite the knowledge that one helicopter had been downed by intense hostile fire, Captain Fleming descended, and balanced his helicopter on a river bank with the tail boom hanging over open water. The patrol could not penetrate to the landing site and he was forced to withdraw. Dangerously low on fuel, Captain Fleming repeated his original landing maneuver. Disregarding his own safety, he remained in this exposed position. Hostile fire crashed through his windscreen as the patrol boarded his helicopter. Captain Fleming made a successful takeoff through a barrage of hostile fire and recovered safely at a forward base. Captain Fleming's conspicuous gallantry, his profound concern for his fellowmen, and his intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Air Force and reflect great credit upon himself and the Armed Forces of his Country.

RICHARD NIXON

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, March 3, 1863, has awarded in the name of The Congress the Medal of Honor to

SERGEANT JOHN L. LEVITOW
UNITED STATES AIR FORCE

for conspicuous gallantry. and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty:

Sergeant John L. Levitow (then Airman First Class), United States Air Force, distinguished himself by exceptional heroism on 24 February 1969, while assigned as a loadmaster aboard an AC-47 aircraft flying a night mission in support of Long Binh Army Post, Republic of Vietnam. On that date, Sergeant Levitow's aircraft was struck by a hostile mortar round. The resulting explosion ripped a hole two feet in diameter through the wing and fragments made over 3,500 holes in the fuselage. All occupants of the cargo compartment were wounded and helplessly slammed against the floor and fuselage. The explosion tore an activated flare from the grasp of a crew member who had been launching flares to provide illumination for Army ground troops engaged in combat. Sergeant Levitow, though stunned by the concussion of the blast and suffering from over forty fragment wounds in the back and legs, staggered to his feet and turned to assist the man nearest to him who had been knocked down and was bleeding heavily. As he was moving his wounded comrade forward and away from the opened cargo compartment door, he saw the smoking flare ahead of him in the aisle. Realizing the danger involved and completely disregarding his own wounds, Sergeant Levitow started toward the burning flare. The aircraft was partially out of control and the flare was rolling wildly from side to side. Sergeant Levitow struggled forward despite the loss of blood from his many wounds and the partial loss of feeling in his right leg. Unable to grasp the rolling flare with his hands, he threw himself bodily upon the burning flare. Hugging the deadly device to his body, he dragged himself back to the rear of the aircraft and hurled the flare through the open cargo door. At that instant the flare separated and ignited in the air, but clear of the aircraft. Sergeant Levitow, by his selfless and heroic actions, saved the aircraft and its entire crew from certain death and destruction. Sergeant Levitow's conspicuous gallantry, his profound concern for his fellowmen, and his intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty, are in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Air Force and reflect great credit upon himself and the Armed Forces of his country.

RICHARD NIXON

[The President then resumed speaking.]

Thank you very much, Mr. Secretary. As we conclude this ceremony, I can only say that I hope that those of us who have the responsibilities in Government here can work as effectively, as courageously in the cause of a just and lasting peace as you have served this country in war.

At the conclusion of these ceremonies in the East Room we always like to invite our guests to make this your home, because this belongs to the whole country. Down in the State Dining Room we have some refreshments that you might enjoy, some coffee, tea, pastries, and so forth.

Mrs. Nixon, unfortunately, today is attending a luncheon at the Congress which traditionally is given for the First Lady, but my daughter, Julie Eisenhower, will be your hostess, and I know she will very much enjoy welcoming all of you. and particularly seeing all of these young children who are here.

Again, we are very proud to have you in this house. It will always belong to you, and very especially belong to you in our hearts.
Thank you very much.


Note: The President spoke at 11:17 am. in the East Room at the White House.
Citation: Richard Nixon: "Remarks on Awarding the Congressional Medal of Honor to Twelve Members of the Armed Services.," May 14, 1970. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project. http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=2503.
Home         
© 1999-2015 - Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley - The American Presidency Project
Locations of visitors to this page