Vietnam Pilot Receives Congressional Medal of Honor

Vietnam Pilot Receives Congressional Medal of Honor

This is a discussion on Vietnam Pilot Receives Congressional Medal of Honor within the Law Enforcement, Military & Homeland Security Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,254279,00.html WASHINGTON — Bruce Crandall was a soldier once ... and young. As a 32-year-old helicopter pilot, he flew through a gauntlet of enemy fire, ...

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Thread: Vietnam Pilot Receives Congressional Medal of Honor

  1. #1
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    Thumbs up Vietnam Pilot Receives Congressional Medal of Honor

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,254279,00.html

    WASHINGTON — Bruce Crandall was a soldier once ... and young.

    As a 32-year-old helicopter pilot, he flew through a gauntlet of enemy fire, taking ammunition in and wounded Americans out of one of the fiercest battles of the Vietnam War, Army records say.

    Now, a week after his 74th birthday, Crandall will receive the nation's highest military honor Monday in a White House ceremony with President Bush.

    "I'm still here," he said of his 41-year-wait for the Medal of Honor. "Most of these awards are posthumous, so I can't complain."

    Crandall's actions in the November 1965 Battle at Ia Drang Valley were depicted in the Hollywood movie "We Were Soldiers," adapted from the book "We Were Soldiers Once ... And Young."

    At the time, Crandall was a major commanding a company of the 229th Assault Helicopter Battalion, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile).

    "We had the first airmobile division ... the first one to use aircraft as a means of transportation and sustaining combat," Crandall said. His unit was put together earlier that year to go to Vietnam and "wasn't as thought out as things are today."

    He didn't have gunners for his aircraft. That's why he flew unarmed helicopters into the battlefield.

    He didn't have night vision equipment and other later technology that lessens the danger of flying.

    The unit had "minimum resources and almost no administrative people" — thus the lack of help to do the reams of paperwork that had to be sent to Washington for the highest medals, Crandall said.

    Generals in-theatre could approve nothing higher than the Distinguished Service Cross, so he got one of those, which through the years has come to be upgraded to the Medal of Honor, Crandall said in a phone interview from his home near Bremerton, Wash.

    Crandall was leading a group of 16 helicopters in support of the 1st Cavalry Division's 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment — the regiment led by George Armstrong Custer when he met his end at the 1876 Battle of the Little Bighorn, or "Custer's Last Stand."

    Without Crandall's actions, the embattled men at Ia Drang would have died in much the same way — "cut off, surrounded by numerically superior forces, overrun and butchered to the last man," the infantry commander, Lt. Col. Harold Moore, wrote in recommending Crandall for the medal.

    Moore, now a retired three-star general, later wrote the book about the battle along with Joseph L. Galloway, a former war correspondent now with McClatchy Newspapers.

    "This unit, taking some of the heaviest casualties of the war, out of water and fast running out of ammunition, was engaged in one of the fiercest battles of the Vietnam war against a relentlessly attacking, highly motivated, vastly superior force," said U.S. Army documents supporting Crandall's medal. The U.S. forces were up against two regiments of North Vietnamese Army infantry, "determined to overrun and annihilate them," the documents said.

    The fighting became so intense that the helicopter landing zone for delivering and resupplying troops was closed, and a unit assigned to medical evacuation duties refused to fly. Crandall volunteered for the mission and with wingman and longtime friend Maj. Ed Freeman made flight after flight over three days to deliver water, ammunition and medical supplies. They are credited with saving more than 70 wounded soldiers by flying them out to safety, and Freeman received the Medal of Honor in July 2001.

    Paperwork and other parts of the process delayed Crandall's medal until now, officials said.

    Thinking back to the Vietnam battle, Crandall remembers the first day was "very long ... we were in the air for 14 and a half hours." He also thinks of how impressive and calm the unit on the ground remained, saying Moore and his commanders were "solid as rocks" throughout the fight.

    And of course, Crandall says, he's also proud of his own performance.

    "I'm so proud that I didn't screw it up," he said.
    Late is better than never I guess. Reading the book really gives you a better sense of how much Maj. Crandall did during that battle, although the movie doesn't do a bad job of it. Good for him, he deserves it.
    Fortes Fortuna Juvat

    Former, USMC 0311, OIF/OEF vet
    NRA Pistol/Rifle/Shotgun/Reloading Instructor, RSO, Ohio CHL Instructor


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    Just a pity so late but certainly ever so glad he can accept it as a living vet.

    I am sure too - without taking away from any of his superb exploits - there are countless other helo guys who also deserve high recognition. I wonder often how they managed at all.
    Chris - P95
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    A well deserved honor. I'm glad the article didn't say that Major Crandall "won" the MOH. One does not win this decoration, he earns it.

    Everyone should read General Moore's book. It's easily one of the best 5 books, if not the best book, of the Vietnam war.

    In my opinion, if the U.S. Army would have had a couple hundred more battalion commanders like Hal Moore in Vietnam, things would have turned out differently.


    When you’re wounded and left on Afghanistan’s plains,
    And the women come out to cut up what remains,
    Just roll to your rifle and blow out your brains,
    And go to your God like a soldier.

    Rudyard Kipling


    Terry

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    I served with Lt. Gen. Harold G. (Hal) Moore, the commander at Ia Drang Valley and co-author of the book We Were Soldiers Once ... And Young on two different occasions. The first time was when he was the Professor of Military Science at Auburn University and I was in ROTC. And then when I was assigned to Ft. Ord, CA from June 1971 to March 1974. Moore was a soldiers commander. He was the kind that people would march into hell for.

    I have several very fond memories of Lt. Gen. Moore. The first was at the Hail and Farewell at Ft. Ord where I was welcomed. I went through the line as a newly assigned 2LT and shook hands with Gen. Moore. He asked about where I was coming from and I told him Airborne School at Ft. Benning and made a comment that I though Auburn was hot in June, but Benning was hotter. He asked about Auburn and we spoke for a moment. We went on in to the gathering. When it came time to be seated Gen. Moore asked for my wife and me to sit with him and Mrs. Moore. We had a very good conversation about Auburn, football, ROTC and his plans to return to Auburn when he retired. He still maintains a home in Auburn.

    The second memory is when in June 1973 DA announced a RIF. My year group was the hardest hit and of course I was one of the officers was selected to be released. Gen. Moore sent out a personal letter to all the personnel on Ft. Ord that were affected. I don't know about other letters, but in mine he mentioned our Auburn connection and stated that if he could help with anything to contact him. He also provided certain conditions under which active duty could be extended. One was for birth of a child. My wife and I had gone to Hawaii in early June and while there found out she was pregnant. I requested to be extended on active duty and Gen. Moore approved the request immediately. After Angie was born and just a few days before we were to leave Ft. Ord to drive back to Alabama. I was called to the Headquarters building for Training Command (Provisional) the unit in which I served as Property Book Officer. I got there and discovered all the officers of the supply section, Training Command's commander, my wife, and even more surprising Gen. Moore. I did not know until I got there that my boss Maj. Anthony N. Muller had recommended me for the Army Commendation Medal and that it had been approved. I don't think Gen. Moore went to all the ARCOM presentations on Ft. Ord, so I was especially pleased to see him there.

    I am sure that Lt. Gen. Moore is very proud and thankful that Maj. Crandall is finally getting this award which he certainly deserves.
    George

    Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe. Albert Einstein

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    Major Ed Freeman is a friend of mine and he has nothing but praise for Major Crandall. Heros one and all. If I can only be half the men that they are.
    21 years and 21 days, United States Marine Corps.

    The line of hard men willing to rain violence on our enemies so you can sleep warmly and safely in your bed at night continues. That's what we do. Semper fi.

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    Atteeeeeeeeention...



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    It's nice to see MaJ. Crandall get the recognition he deserves. He saved a lot of guys that would have died otherwise.

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    Garryowen!!
    Cheers,
    Rod
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    His career would have been different If he had gotten the medal while on active duty and prob made Col.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nn View Post
    His career would have been different If he had gotten the medal while on active duty and prob made Col.
    As would many of our real heros. But they didn't do it for rank, fame or money. They did it for their fellow warriors. No higher calling.
    21 years and 21 days, United States Marine Corps.

    The line of hard men willing to rain violence on our enemies so you can sleep warmly and safely in your bed at night continues. That's what we do. Semper fi.

    NRA Life Member since 1972

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    I appreciate Crandall's humor about the whole thing. I thought this comment was great. "I'm still here. Most of these awards are posthumous, so I can't complain."
    George

    Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe. Albert Einstein

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