Another Veteran’s Day is approaching when we will honor our veterans. To most Vietnam Veterans everyday is Memorial Day because most of us often remember those who fell in that war. We all appreciate what the Nation does to remember its veterans. In this episode we will remember two special Vietnam Veterans. Their story comes from Time.com and is titled: How Two Navy SEALs Saved Their Fellow Soldiers in Vietnam. It was submitted by Dick Couch the author of the book By Honor Bound.
The two honored veterans are Lieutenant Tommy Norris and Petty Officer Mike Thornton. They were both Navy SEALs who were awarded the Medal of Honor. Thornton’s award was the first time in modern history that a recipient received the Medal of Honor for saving the life of another recipient who happened to be Tommy Norris. Norris was awarded the CMOH as a result of his actions in the spring of 1972 when he went into North Vietnam to rescue two downed Air Force pilots. He pulled off the daring feat and then went back in to save a third pilot but unfortunately that pilot was killed before he could make the rescue. Norris’s actions were so outstanding they made a movie about the operation. It was called BAT 21 and starred Gene Hackman and Danny Glover.
Six months later Norris led another raid into North Vietnam which included Mike Thornton. In that operation the five man team encountered a battalion of NVA. Norris was seriously wounded and Thornton carried him one quarter of a mile while under heavy fire from the enemy to safety. Their exciting exploits were detailed in Couch’s book By Honor Bound.
Mike Thornton and Tommy Norris are members of a shrinking fraternity of CMOH winners. There are only 79 left and they both think that’s good because it means fewer Americans have to risk their lives fighting for their country.