Earned valor refused

Some of you regulars here at American Thinker may know that I also post at a combat veteran-operated military website called This Ain't Hell.  Its primary mission is exposing Stolen Valor fraud – that is, going after those sleazy types who dishonestly claim military service, deeds, heroism, and awards they did not perform or earn – and shining the bright, hot light of internet fame on them.  Since 2008, TAH has exposed more than 2,000 of these valor thieves, many of whom appear in this rogue's gallery, a place you most surely do not want your mug to be plastered, for, as they say, the internet is forever.

Vietnam War hero Lieutenant General Hal Moore was made famous by his heroic leadership at the Battle of Ia Drang, the U.S. Army's first major set-piece battle in that war where Moore and the legendary 7th Cavalry fought off a much larger North Vietnamese Army force.  A widely acclaimed book, We Were Soldiers Once...and Young, written by Moore and Joseph L. Galloway, a war reporter present throughout the battle, made Moore famous outside the military.  A movie based on that book starring Mel Gibson as Moore made the by then retired three-star general an American icon.  Sadly, the old warhorse left us earlier this year.

My involvement with Moore was brief and strictly by chance.  My unit, the 2nd Battalion, 327th Airborne Infantry, was engaged with a much larger NVA force at a hamlet called Trung Luong in June 1966.  The 1st Air Cavalry Division was tapped to assist.  Moore, a full colonel and brigade commander by then, led the relief force, a battalion of the 8th Cavalry Regiment.  He blew through the blackout flaps of our Forward Tactical Operations Center like a tall, lean whirlwind, and within minutes, I found myself designated his tactical net radio operator within the TOC.  For the better part of the next two days, I issued and rescinded endless streams of commands and instructions as his voice to the rifle companies except when he grabbed the handset, as he did frequently, and barked out orders himself.  At the conclusion of the battle, when the enemy regiments had withdrawn from the field, he boarded his command chopper, and I never saw him again.  However, for the remainder of my life, much of which was spent on military installations all over the country, I have told countless listeners of this fierce colonel who embodied the image of the lean, mean Airborne Ranger infantry officer.  That statue at Fort Benning could well be he.  

Last week, I received an email from an old Cav trooper buddy which I thought might interest readers of American Thinker but especially the valor hunters at This Ain't Hell via (Lt. General Hal Moore's son):

 Missing award?

I had a question about Dad's Purple Heart. As you can see from his official picture, it is not on his chest. In this letter home from Vietnam, he explains: "By the way please send me back that Purple Heart and award certificate. I cannot keep it as I feel that a minor punji stake wound in the foot is no reason. Many get it for that when so hurt, but I have my own self-respect to live with. I intend to turn them back. Although it was properly earned, I cannot wear it or keep it in conscience."

Dad was unsuccessful in his effort to return it. Once something is awarded, it is final. But, it was his choice not to wear it out of respect for those who paid a much higher price.

 

As someone who saw others wounded by punji stakes and who himself once came within inches and seconds of planting his jump boots into a punji pit, I can assure you that such wounds can be no small matters, even life-threatening. Yet here was an infantry leader turning down a duly awarded Purple Heart, his nation’s oldest and most cherished award, for a legitimate injury, because he considered it too minor.

Now can you, for even a moment, imagine John Kerry possessing the honor and self-respect to do that? It would be a most fitting punishment to all Stolen Valor thieves exposed by This Ain’t Hell and other such organizations for local judges to require the perpetrators to stand in their courtrooms and eat a copy of General Moore’s award citation, printed on heavy formal presentation stock. John Kerry should have to do that, too, except while standing on the steps of the Capitol holding a wooden model Swift Boat.

Some of you regulars here at American Thinker may know that I also post at a combat veteran-operated military website called This Ain't Hell.  Its primary mission is exposing Stolen Valor fraud – that is, going after those sleazy types who dishonestly claim military service, deeds, heroism, and awards they did not perform or earn – and shining the bright, hot light of internet fame on them.  Since 2008, TAH has exposed more than 2,000 of these valor thieves, many of whom appear in this rogue's gallery, a place you most surely do not want your mug to be plastered, for, as they say, the internet is forever.

Vietnam War hero Lieutenant General Hal Moore was made famous by his heroic leadership at the Battle of Ia Drang, the U.S. Army's first major set-piece battle in that war where Moore and the legendary 7th Cavalry fought off a much larger North Vietnamese Army force.  A widely acclaimed book, We Were Soldiers Once...and Young, written by Moore and Joseph L. Galloway, a war reporter present throughout the battle, made Moore famous outside the military.  A movie based on that book starring Mel Gibson as Moore made the by then retired three-star general an American icon.  Sadly, the old warhorse left us earlier this year.

My involvement with Moore was brief and strictly by chance.  My unit, the 2nd Battalion, 327th Airborne Infantry, was engaged with a much larger NVA force at a hamlet called Trung Luong in June 1966.  The 1st Air Cavalry Division was tapped to assist.  Moore, a full colonel and brigade commander by then, led the relief force, a battalion of the 8th Cavalry Regiment.  He blew through the blackout flaps of our Forward Tactical Operations Center like a tall, lean whirlwind, and within minutes, I found myself designated his tactical net radio operator within the TOC.  For the better part of the next two days, I issued and rescinded endless streams of commands and instructions as his voice to the rifle companies except when he grabbed the handset, as he did frequently, and barked out orders himself.  At the conclusion of the battle, when the enemy regiments had withdrawn from the field, he boarded his command chopper, and I never saw him again.  However, for the remainder of my life, much of which was spent on military installations all over the country, I have told countless listeners of this fierce colonel who embodied the image of the lean, mean Airborne Ranger infantry officer.  That statue at Fort Benning could well be he.  

Last week, I received an email from an old Cav trooper buddy which I thought might interest readers of American Thinker but especially the valor hunters at This Ain't Hell via (Lt. General Hal Moore's son):

 Missing award?

I had a question about Dad's Purple Heart. As you can see from his official picture, it is not on his chest. In this letter home from Vietnam, he explains: "By the way please send me back that Purple Heart and award certificate. I cannot keep it as I feel that a minor punji stake wound in the foot is no reason. Many get it for that when so hurt, but I have my own self-respect to live with. I intend to turn them back. Although it was properly earned, I cannot wear it or keep it in conscience."

Dad was unsuccessful in his effort to return it. Once something is awarded, it is final. But, it was his choice not to wear it out of respect for those who paid a much higher price.

 

As someone who saw others wounded by punji stakes and who himself once came within inches and seconds of planting his jump boots into a punji pit, I can assure you that such wounds can be no small matters, even life-threatening. Yet here was an infantry leader turning down a duly awarded Purple Heart, his nation’s oldest and most cherished award, for a legitimate injury, because he considered it too minor.

Now can you, for even a moment, imagine John Kerry possessing the honor and self-respect to do that? It would be a most fitting punishment to all Stolen Valor thieves exposed by This Ain’t Hell and other such organizations for local judges to require the perpetrators to stand in their courtrooms and eat a copy of General Moore’s award citation, printed on heavy formal presentation stock. John Kerry should have to do that, too, except while standing on the steps of the Capitol holding a wooden model Swift Boat.

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