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May 31, 2010
A hero from my times
This is the story of a hero from my times. One of the people that defend America no matter the possible consequences. Medal of Honor recipients all are heroes. Many were declared heroes posthumously.
Captain Lance P. Sijan is the first Medal of Honor recipient to be a graduate of the United States Air Force Academy.
I have added additional data to the Medal of Honor citation, in italics.
Medal of Honor
SIJAN, LANCE P.*
Rank and organization: Captain, U.S. Air Force, 4th Allied POW Wing, Pilot of an F-4C aircraft.
Place and date: North Vietnam, 9 November 1967.
Entered service at: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Born: 13 April 1942, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
While on a flight over North Vietnam, Capt. Sijan ejected from his disabled aircraft (Sijan, plummeting to the ground after a low-level bailout, suffered a skull fracture, a mangled right hand with three fingers bent backward to the wrist, and a compound fracture of his left leg, the bone protruding through the lacerated skin.) and successfully evaded capture for more than 6 weeks.
During this time, he was seriously injured and suffered from shock and extreme weight loss due to lack of food. (He would live in the North Vietnamese jungle with no food and little water for some 45 days. Virtually immobilized, he would propel himself backward on his elbows and buttocks toward what he hoped was freedom. He was alone. He would be joined later by two other Americans, and in short, fading, in-and-out periods of consciousness and lucidity, would tell them his story)
After being captured by North Vietnamese soldiers, Capt. Sijan was taken to a holding point for subsequent transfer to a prisoner of war camp. In his emaciated and crippled condition, he overpowered 1 of his guards and crawled into the jungle, only to be recaptured after several hours. He was then transferred to another prison camp where he was kept in solitary confinement and interrogated at length. During interrogation, he was severely tortured; however, he did not divulge any information to his captors. Capt. Sijan lapsed into delirium and was placed in the care of another prisoner. During his intermittent periods of consciousness until his death, he never complained of his physical condition and, on several occasions, spoke of future escape attempts. Capt. Sijan's extraordinary heroism and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty at the cost of his life are in keeping with the highest traditions of the U.S. Air Force and reflect great credit upon himself and the U.S. Armed Forces.