Episode 2814 – Medal of Honor tribute to Army MSG James Leroy Bondsteel   

Medal of Honor recipient Army MSG James Leroy Bondsteel, Vietnam Veteran News, Mack Payne

Medal of Honor recipient Army MSG James Leroy Bondsteel

Congressional Medal of Honor, Vietnam Veteran News, Mack Payne

Congressional Medal of Honor

Episode 2814 of the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast will feature a story about Army MSG James Leroy Bondsteel and his Congressional Medal of Honor award. The featured story appeared on the History Net website and was titled: James Leroy Bondsteel. This article appeared on Wikipedia and was submitted by an anonymous writer.

In the story it was reported that: James Leroy Bondsteel was born in Jackson, Michigan to Betty Jean Daisy and her fiancé, Kenneth Bondsteel. He enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in 1965 after graduating from Jonesville High School in Jonesville, Michigan.

Bondsteel enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in 1965 and was sent to Korea where he contributed his time to an orphanage. When his hitch in the Marine Corps ended, he then enlisted the United States Army, serving until his retirement in 1985. In 1969, he was deployed to Vietnam with Company A, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division where he received the Medal of Honor for his actions occurring May 24, 1969 near An Lộc, South Vietnam during Operation Toan Thang III. During his time in Vietnam, Bondsteel learned to speak Vietnamese and could differentiate between different regional dialects.

Parts of Bondsteel’s Medal of Honor Citation read as follows:  His exemplary leadership and great personal courage throughout the 4-hour battle ensured the success of his own and nearby units, and resulted in the saving of numerous lives of his fellow soldiers. By individual acts of bravery he destroyed 10 enemy bunkers and accounted for a large toll of the enemy, including 2 key enemy commanders. His extraordinary heroism at the risk of his life was in the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon him, his unit, and the U.S. Army.

Listen to episode 2814 and discover more about Army MSG James Leroy Bondsteel and his Congressional Medal of Honor award.

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Episode 2813 – Medal of Honor tribute to Army Sp4 Michael Reinert Blanchfield    

Medal of Honor recipient Army SP4 Michael Reinert Blanchfield, Vietnam Veteran News, Mack Payne

Medal of Honor recipient Army SP4 Michael Reinert Blanchfield

Congressional Medal of Honor, Vietnam Veteran News, Mack Payne

Congressional Medal of Honor

Episode 2813 of the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast will feature a story about Army Sp4 Michael Reinert Blanchfield and his Congressional Medal of Honor award. The featured story appeared on the History Net website and was titled: Michael R. Blanchfield. This article appeared on Wikipedia and was submitted by an anonymous writer.

In the story it was reported that: Michael Reinert Blanchfield was born on January 4, 1950 and died on July 3, 1969. He served as a United States Army soldier and was a recipient of the United States military’s highest decoration—the Medal of Honor—for his actions in the Vietnam War.

During a search and destroy operation in Binh Dinh Province, Blanchfield confronted a Viet Cong militant, who threw two grenades at him and his fellow soldiers. After being injured by the first grenade, Blanchfield threw himself on the second grenade and saved his fellow soldier’s lives.

Blanchfield joined the Army from Chicago, Illinois in 1967, and by July 3, 1969, was serving as a Specialist Four in Company A, 4th Battalion, 503d Infantry, 173d Airborne Brigade. On that day, in Binh Dinh Province, Republic of Vietnam, Blanchfield smothered the blast of a hand grenade with his body, sacrificing himself to protect those around him. Blanchfield, aged 19 at his death, was buried in All Saints Cemetery at Des Plaines, Illinois.

Portions of Blanchfield’s Medal of Honor citation stated: By his gallant action and self-sacrifice, he was able to save the lives and prevent injury to four members of the patrol and several Vietnamese civilians in the immediate area. extraordinary courage and gallantry at the cost of his life above and beyond the call of duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the U.S. Army.

Listen to episode 2813 and discover more about Army Sp4 Michael Reinert Blanchfield and his Congressional Medal of Honor award.

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Episode 2812 – Medal of Honor tribute to Army Combat Medic Thomas W. Bennett    

Medal of honor recipient Army Combat Medic Thomas W. Bennett, Vietnam Veteran News, Mack Payne

Medal of honor recipient Army Combat Medic Thomas W. Bennett

Episode 2812 of the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast will feature a story about Army Combat Medic Thomas W. Bennett and his Congressional Medal of Honor award. The featured story appeared on the History Net website and was titled: A Conscientious Objector’s Medal of Honor. This article was written by Edward F. Murphy and originally published in the June 2003 issue of Vietnam Magazine.

In his story Murphy reported that: The Vietnam War presented many young men with a moral dilemma as they became subject to the draft in the late 1960s. These were men whose deep-seated religious convictions held that killing was wrong, even in war. At the same time, a number of them also possessed a strong sense of patriotism and felt that service to one’s country was a vital duty. One youngster torn by those conflicting values was Thomas W. Bennett of Morgantown, West Virginia.

Tom Bennett saw himself as a moderator. Though raised as a Southern Baptist, he openly embraced the validity of all religions — hence his activities in the ecumenical council. He wanted devotees of different religions to share their similarities rather than face off over their differences. To learn more about different religions, he began attending services of different faiths, visiting some churches so often that parishioners thought he was one of them. Through these experiences his belief in the sanctity of human life solidified — a frequent theme when he preached at his own church.

On April 7, 1970, Tom Bennett’s 23rd birthday, President Richard M. Nixon presented his posthumous Medal of Honor to his mother and stepfather. When first notified of the award, Thus Thomas W. Bennett became the only conscientious objector to earn the Medal of Honor in the Vietnam War.

Listen to episode 2812 and discover more about Army Combat Medic Thomas W. Bennett and his Congressional Medal of Honor award.

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Episode 2811 – Medal of Honor tribute to Air Force Captain Steven Bennett  

Medal of Honor recipient Air Force Captain Steven Bennett, Vietnam Veteran News, Mack Payne

Medal of Honor recipient Air Force Captain Steven Bennett

The North American OV-10A Bronco, Vietnam Veteran News, Mack Payne

The North American OV-10A Bronco

Episode 2811 of the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast will feature a story about Air Force Captain Steven Bennett and his Congressional Medal of Honor award. The featured story appeared on the Medal of Honor Museum website and was titled: Captain Steven Bennett: Courage and Sacrifice in the Skies Over Vietnam.

Born in Palestine, Texas, in 1946, a young Steven Bennett later moved with his family to Louisiana. Bennett graduated from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette (then University of Southwestern Louisiana) in 1965 with a degree in Aerospace Engineering. As an ROTC graduate with a pilot’s license, Bennett entered the U.S. Air Force in August 1968 and earned his silver pilot’s wings in 1969.  Steven, when he was getting ready to propose marriage to his future wife Linda, told her that with him it would always be “God, Country, and then family in that order.”

Bennett first learned to fly the B-52 Stratofortress strategic bomber and flew missions out of Thailand before transitioning to become a Forward Air Controller (FAC). Despite the significant drawdown of U.S. forces in Vietnam and the surging unpopularity of the conflict, Bennett was determined to keep serving in a combat capacity. Bennett requested a tour in Vietnam and was subsequently assigned to the 20th Tactical Air Support Squadron, flying North American OV-10A Broncos from the airbase at Da Nang.

It has been more than 50 years since Steven Bennett’s last flight over Vietnam, but his example remains as strong today as it did that fateful day in Vietnam. A determination to serve in harm’s way, even when that was unpopular. A commitment to do all he could to help his comrades on the ground, even when that demanded actions that created great risk. And his selfless sacrifice so that his crewmate could live, even at the risk of his own life, are powerful reminders of the best that serve in our military and deserve our nation’s highest military decoration.

Listen to episode 2811 and discover more about Air Force Captain Steven Bennett and his Congressional Medal of Honor award.

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Episode 2810 – Medal of Honor tribute to Army Master Sergeant Roy Benavidez   

Medal of Honor recipient Army Master Sergeant Roy Benavidez, Vietnam Veteran News, Mack Payne

Medal of Honor recipient Army Master Sergeant Roy Benavidez

Episode 2810 of the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast will feature a story about Army Master Sergeant Roy Benavidez and his Congressional Medal of Honor award. The featured story appeared on the Grunge website and was titled: The Incredible True Story Of Master Sergeant Roy Benavidez. The story was submitted by Sarah January, a writer for Grunge.

In her story January reported that serving one’s country through military service is one of the bravest things a person can do, but it is also potentially one of the most dangerous. The risk of danger obviously increases when a country is at war. This was especially true once America entered the Vietnam War in 1954. According to History, following an attack on U.S. forces in the Gulf of Tonkin in 1964, U.S. military presence increased, despite having been at war for a decade already. Increased military presence means more soldiers, and Raul “Roy” Benavidez answered the call.

While the name of Roy Benavidez is probably one you haven’t heard of, it is most definitely a name you should know. His story is one that makes all those war films look extremely pale in comparison and is almost too incredible to be true. Read on to find out more about one of the most unbelievable soldiers to ever serve the United States.

In less than a decade, Benavidez had risen through the ranks and become an elite among soldiers. One can assume he was extremely good at his job because in 1965, he was sent to Vietnam for the first time as an adviser to their army. It was during this deployment that something happened that changed his life forever.

General William C. Westmoreland nominated him for an upgrade to the Medal of Honor in 1973.

Listen to episode 2810 and discover more about Army Master Sergeant Roy Benavidez and his Congressional Medal of Honor award.

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Episode 2809 – Medal of Honor tribute to Army SGT Ted Belcher  

Army SGT Ted Belcher, Vietnam Veteran News, Mack Payne

Medal of Honor recipient Army SGT Ted Belcher

Episode 2809 of the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast will feature a story about Army SGT Ted Belcher and his Congressional Medal of Honor award. The featured story appeared on the Wikipedia website and was titled: Ted Belcher. The story was submitted by an anonymous writer to Wikipedia.

Ted Belcher was born on July 21, 1924. He died on November 19, 1966. He was a United States Army soldier and a recipient of the United States military’s highest decoration—the Medal of Honor for his actions in the Vietnam War. He was also a recipient of a Purple Heart, a National Defense Medal, and both the Vietnam Service and Vietnam Campaign Medals.

Belcher joined the Army from Huntington, West Virginia in April 1943, and served in World War II. By November 19, 1966, he was serving as a Sergeant in Company C, 1st Battalion, 14th Infantry, 25th Infantry Division. On that day, at Plei Djereng in the Republic of Vietnam, Belcher smothered the blast of an enemy-thrown hand grenade with his body, sacrificing himself to protect those around him.

Distinguishing himself by conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life. Sgt. Belcher’s unit was engaged in a search and destroy mission with Company B, 1st Battalion, 14th Infantry, the Battalion Reconnaissance Platoon and a special forces company of civilian irregular defense group personnel. As a squad leader of the 2d Platoon of Company C, Sgt. Belcher was leading his men when they encountered a bunker complex. Distinguishing himself by conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life. Sgt. Belcher’s unit was engaged in a search and destroy mission with Company B, 1st Battalion, 14th Infantry, the Battalion Reconnaissance Platoon and a special forces company of civilian irregular defense group personnel. As a squad leader of the 2d Platoon of Company C, Sgt. Belcher was leading his men when they encountered a bunker complex.

Listen to episode 2809 and discover more about Army SGT Ted Belcher and his Congressional Medal of Honor award.

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Episode 2808 – Medal of Honor tribute to Army PFC John Andrew Barnes III   

Medal of Honor recipient Army PFC John Andrew Barnes III , Vietnam Veteran News, Mack Payne

Medal of Honor recipient Army PFC John Andrew Barnes III

Episode 2808 of the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast will feature a story about Army PFC John Andrew Barnes III and his Congressional Medal of Honor award. The featured story appeared on the Wikipedia website and was titled: John Andrew Barnes III. The story was submitted by an anonymous writer to Wikipedia.

Barnes was born in Boston, Massachusetts on April 16, 1945. When he was two years old, he was adopted by John A. Barnes, Jr. and his wife, Katherine. Their 18-year-old daughter, Carson, was a freshman in college at the time. From a young age, Barnes expressed an interest in joining the Army.

Shortly after graduating from Dedham High School, Barnes enlisted in the United States Army and went through basic training at Fort Pickett. He served for a year in Santo Domingo during the Dominican Civil War.

Barnes was sent to Vietnam as part of the 173rd Airborne Brigade on May 31, 1966. He was assigned to Company C of the 1st Battalion, 503d Infantry, he was a grenadier. Soldiers of the brigade became involved in Operation Attleboro in fall of 1966, an operation that started out as a small search and destroy mission north of Saigon but eventually involved 22,000 troops from 21 battalions. After serving one tour in Vietnam, Barnes went home, but volunteered to return to Vietnam and was sent back in the fall of 1967.

On November 12, 1967, while patrolling in Dak To District of Kon Tum Province during the Battle of Dak To, Barnes’ unit was attacked by a North Vietnamese battalion. During the battle, Barnes manned a machine gun that had lost its crew to enemy fire and was credited with nine enemy kills. While retrieving more ammunition, Barnes dived on top of a grenade that had landed among American wounded in order to use his body to protect them from the blast. The grenade exploded, killing Barnes.

Listen to episode 2808 and discover more about Army PFC John Andrew Barnes III and his Congressional Medal of Honor award.

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Episode 2807 – Medal of Honor tribute to Army 1SG Nicky Daniel Bacon  

Medal of Honor recipient Army 1SG Nicky Daniel Bacon, Vietnam Veteran News Mack Payne

Medal of Honor recipient Army 1SG Nicky Daniel Bacon

Episode 2807 of the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast will feature a story about Army 1SG Nicky Daniel Bacon and his Congressional Medal of Honor award. The featured story appeared on the Wikipedia website and was titled: Nicky Bacon. The story was submitted by an anonymous writer to Wikipedia.

Bacon was born in Caraway, Arkansas, on November 25, 1945, one of nine children. His parents, Johno and “Jean” (Meadows) Bacon, were sharecroppers on a cotton farm. In 1951, a poor farming economy prompted the family to move to Glendale, Arizona, where Johno Bacon’s parents lived. Nicky Bacon grew up driving tractors and picking cotton on the ranch where his father worked. He dropped out of Peoria High School to work full-time to support the family when his father contracted polio, although he later earned a GED.

For his actions in a battle near Tam Ky, Bacon received the Medal of Honor. The medal was formally presented to him by President Richard Nixon during a 1969 White House ceremony. For his service in Vietnam and throughout his career, he also received the Distinguished Service Cross, the Legion of Merit, two Bronze Stars, two Purple Heart medals (one awarded later in 2008 due to an administrative oversight) and numerous other awards and decorations. “Did I enjoy combat? Yeah. I enjoyed the game,” Bacon said in the “Beyond Glory” interview. “I was good at it.”

After his military retirement, Bacon returned with his wife to Arizona and worked for the Department of Veterans Affairs at their Phoenix regional office. While there, he was the co-originator with Larry Mullins of the Med-Vet Healthcare Program in Phoenix and participated in John McCain’s 1986 political campaign in which McCain was first elected to the U.S. Senate. Bacon later served as town manager for the Phoenix suburb of Surprise from 1987 to 1990.

Listen to episode 2807 and discover more about Army 1SG Nicky Daniel Bacon and his Congressional Medal of Honor award.

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Episode 2806 – Medal of Honor tribute to Army PFC Lewis Albanese

Army PFC Lewis Albanese, Vietnam Veteran News, Mack Psyne

Medal of Honor recipient Army PFC Lewis Albanese

Episode 2806 of the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast will feature a story about Army PFC Lewis Albanese and his Congressional Medal of Honor award. The featured story appeared on the History Link website and was titled: Lewis (Luigi) Albanese receives the Medal of Honor posthumously on February 16, 1968. The story was submitted by Duane Colt Denfeld, Ph.D.

Dr. Denfeld reported in his story that Lewis (Luigi) Albanese was born in Cornedo Vicentino, Vicenza, Italy. When he was 2 years old, his mother, Giannina Albanese (b. 1927), brought him to the United States. They joined Ralph Albanese (1927-2002), Lewis’s father, who owned a Seattle pizza parlor.

Lewis grew up in Seattle and attended Franklin High School. At Franklin High School he especially excelled in wood shop and volunteered to create stage sets for plays. He graduated in June 1964 and went to work at Boeing Aircraft.

He was drafted in October 1965 and took basic training at Fort Carson, Colorado. On August 2, 1966, he flew to Vietnam. His unit soon entered the battle.

Albanese had been in Vietnam for only three months when his unit, Company B, Fifth Battalion, Seventh Cavalry, First Cavalry Division, engaged in a major battle. On December 1, 1966, his platoon advanced through heavy forest to establish a blocking position, and came under withering fire. The troops had advanced into an ambush. The platoon attacked the enemy position while Private First Class Albanese covered its left flank. As he laid down covering fire, he came under new attack from a well-concealed position. This enemy position and sniper fire were to the rear of his platoon, which was moving toward another enemy location. The platoon was in danger of being trapped. Private First Class Albanese identified the enemy position, attacked the ditch, and killed the enemy there. He also shot the sniper and in hand-to-hand combat destroyed another enemy position.

Listen to episode 2806 and discover more about Army PFC Lewis Albanese and his Congressional Medal of Honor award.

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Episode 2805 – Medal of Honor tribute to USAF MAJ Bernard Fisher

Bernard Francis Fisher, Medal of Honor recipient, Vietnam Veteran News, Mack Payne

Bernard Francis Fisher, Medal of Honor recipient

U.S. Air Force Majors Bernard F. Fisher and D.W. “Jump” Myers, in Vietnam, 10 March 1966. The photo was taken after Fisher’s rescue of Myers from the A Shau Valley Special Forces camp airfield in front of Fisher’s Douglas A-1E Skyraider (U.S. Navy BuNo 132649)., vietnam veteran news, mack payne

U.S. Air Force Majors Bernard F. Fisher and D.W. “Jump” Myers, in Vietnam, 10 March 1966. The photo was taken after Fisher’s rescue of Myers from the A Shau Valley Special Forces camp airfield in front of Fisher’s Douglas A-1E Skyraider (U.S. Navy BuNo 132649).

A-1 Skyraider, Vietnam Veteran News, Mack Payne

The Douglas A-1E Skyraider (U.S. Navy BuNo 132649) at the National Museum of the United States Air Force (Dayton, Ohio, USA) is the airplane flown by Maj. Bernard Fisher on 10 March 1966, when he rescued a fellow pilot shot down over South Vietnam in the midst of enemy troops.

Episode 2805 of the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast will feature a story about USAF MAJ Bernard Fisher and his Congressional Medal of Honor award. The featured story appeared on the Aviation Geek Club website and was titled: The USAF Skyraider pilot who landed his SPAD on a besieged airstrip to rescue another crash-landed A-1 pilot.

The story was submitted by Dario Leone. He is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

In his story Dario reported that: On Mar. 10, 1966, Maj. Bernard Fisher, flying A-1E S/N 52-132649, rescued a fellow pilot shot down over South Vietnam. For this deed, Fisher received the Medal of Honor.

As explained by Wayne Mutza in his book The A-1 Skyraider in Vietnam, on the morning of Mar. 10, 1966, as “Hobo Five-One,” Fisher took off on a routine bomb-and-strafe mission, with Captain Francisco “Paco” Vazquez, “Hobo Five-Two,” flying another A-1E on his wing. They had been airborne only ten minutes when they were diverted to A Shau. Reaching the cloud-covered area, Fisher found other Skyraiders looking for a hole and, once again, it was he who found it. Two Spads followed Fisher and Vazquez down to the battlefield in trail formation.

Fisher hugged the ground at about 50 feet altitude and raised the camp’s defenders on his FM radio. He said, “I’m the A-1E that just passed over. Where do you want the ordnance?” They answered calmly, “Hit the south wall. They’re coming over the south wall.”

Listen to episode 2805 and discover more about USAF MAJ Bernard Fisher and his Congressional Medal of Honor award.

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The A-1 Skyraider in Vietnam, Vietnam Veteran News, Mack Payne

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