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My 90 year old Vietnam Veteran Father Remembers One Pilot’s Selflessness

This is a combat memory from a “chronologically superior” Army Ranger.

When you turn 90 years old, you tend to reflect on the people in your life that set an example for you. What follows is a combat memory from a “chronologically superior” Army Ranger.

On the battlefield during my two tours in Vietnam, I witnessed many acts of Selflessness. One in particular occurred in late May 1970. I was a battalion commander, and our Area of Operation was in Cambodia. The attack into Cambodia was designed to stop the flow of North Vietnamese supplies along the now famous Ho Chi Minh Trail.

As the lead American unit during this offensive, we sent our scout platoon on a reconnaissance mission to verify intelligence on an enemy cache site. The platoon got into a firefight with the enemy, and the scout platoon leader was seriously wounded. While in my command-and-control helicopter checking on our four rifle companies, the call came over the radio for a medevac helicopter to pick up the wounded lieutenant.

I heard the operations officer say, “The medevac has gone to refuel and will be at your location in about one hour.”

“We cannot wait for an hour,” the medic responded. “I am having difficulty stopping the bleeding, and he may be dead in an hour.”