Public Papers of Richard Nixon, 1969

Contents:
Author: Richard M. Nixon  | Date: October 9, 1969

383
Remarks on Presenting the Medal of Honor to Four Members of the United States Army.
October 9, 1969

Ladies and gentlemen:

We are gathered here today at the White House for the purpose of presenting ’the Nation’s highest decoration to four of the finest young men it has been my privilege to know. The Secretary of the Army, Mr. Resor, will read the citations and the presentations will now be made.

[Secretary of the Army Stanley R. Resor read the four citations, the texts of which follow.]

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, March 3, 1863, has awarded in the name of The Congress the Medal of Honor to


MAJOR PATRICK H. BRADY, MEDICAL SERVICE
CORPS, UNITED STATES ARMY

for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty:

Major Patrick H. Brady, Medical Service Corps, distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity while serving with the 54th Medical Detachment, 67th Medical Group, 44th Medical Brigade in the Republic o Vietnam. On 6 January 1968 Major Brady, commanding a UH-IH ambulance helicopter in the vicinity of Chu Lai, volunteered to rescue wounded men from a site in enemy held territory which was reported to be heavily defended and to be blanketed by fog. To reach the site he descended through heavy fog and smoke and hovered slowly along a valley trail, turning his ship sideward to blow away the fog with the backwash from his rotor blades. Despite the unchallenged, close-range enemy fire, he found the dangerously small site, where he successfully landed and evacuated two badly wounded South Vietnamese soldiers. He was then called to another are by dense fog where American casualties only 50 meters from the enemy. Two had previously been shot down and others made unsuccessful attempts to reach this earlier in the day. With unmatched skill and extraordinary courage, Major Brady made four flights to this embattled landing zone and successfully rescued all the wounded. On his third mission of the day Major Brady once again landed at a site surrounded by the enemy. The friendly ground force, pinned down by enemy fire, had been unable to reach and secure the landing zone. Although his aircraft had been badly damaged and his controls partially shot away during his initial entry into this area, he returned minutes later and rescued the remaining injured. Shortly thereafter, obtaining a replacement aircraft, Major Brady was requested to land in an enemy minefield where a platoon of American soldiers was trapped. A mine detonated near his helicopter, wounding two crew members and damaging his ship. In spite of this, he managed to fly six severely injured patients to medical aid. Throughout that day Major Brady utilized three helicopters to evacuate a total of fifty-one seriously wounded men, many of whom would have perished without prompt medical treatment. Major Brady’s conspicuous gallantry was in the highest traditions of the military service and reflects great credit upon himself and the United States Army.
RICHARD NIXON

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, March 3,1863, has awarded in the name of The Congress the Medal of Honor to


CAPTAIN JACK H. JACOBS
UNITED STATES ARMY

for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty:

Captain Jack H. Jacobs (then First Lieutenant), Infantry, distinguished himself on 9 March 1968 while serving as Assistant Battalion Advisor, 2d Battalion, 16th Infantry, 9th Infantry Division., Army of the Republic of Vietnam, during an operation in Kien Phong Province, Republic of Vietnam. The 2d Battalion was advancing to contact when it came under intense heavy machine gun and mortar fire from a Viet Cong battalion positioned in well-fortified bunkers. As the 2d Battalion deployed into attack formation its advance was halted by devastating fire. Captain Jacobs, with the command element of the lead company, called for and directed air strikes on the enemy positions to facilitate a renewed attack. Due to the intensity of the enemy fire and heavy casualties to the command group, including the company commander, the attack stopped and the friendly troops became disorganized. Although wounded by mortar fragments, Captain Jacobs assumed command of the allied company, ordered a withdrawal from the exposed position and established a defensive perimeter. Despite profuse bleeding from head wounds which impaired his vision, Captain Jacobs, with complete disregard for his own safety, returned under intense fire to evacuate a seriously wounded advisor to the safety of a wooded area where he administered lifesaving first aid. He then returned through heavy automatic weapons fire to evacuate the wounded company commander. Captain Jacobs made repeated trips across the fire-swept open rice paddies evacuating wounded and their weapons. On three separate occasions, Captain Jacobs contacted and drove off Viet Cong squads who were searching for allied wounded and weapons, single-handedly killing three and wounding several others. His gallant actions and extraordinary heroism saved the lives of one United States advisor and thirteen allied soldiers. Through his effort the allied company was restored to an effective fighting unit and prevented defeat of the friendly forces by a strong and determined enemy. Captain Jacobs, by his conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action in the highest traditions of the military service, has reflected great credit upon himself, his unit and the United States Army.
RICHARD NIXON

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, March 3, 1863, has awarded in the name of The Congress the Medal of Honor to


CAPTAIN JAMES M. SPRAYBERRY
UNITED STATES ARMY

for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty:

Captain (then First Lieutenant) James M. Sprayberry, Armor, United States Army, distinguished himself by exceptional bravery on 25 April 1968 in the Republic of Vietnam while serving as Executive Officer of Company D, 5th Battalion, 7th Cavalry, I st Cavalry Division (Airmobile). On this date his Company Commander and a great number of the men were wounded and separated from the main body of the company. A daylight attempt to rescue them was driven back by the well-entrenched enemy’s heavy fire. Captain Sprayberry then organized and led a volunteer night patrol to eliminate the intervening enemy bunkers and to relieve the surrounded element. The patrol soon began receiving enemy machine gun fire. Captain Sprayberry quickly moved the men to protective cover and without regard for his own safety, crawled within close range of the bunker from which the fire was coming. He silenced the machine gun with a hand grenade. Identifying several one-man enemy positions nearby, Captain Sprayberry immediately attacked them with the rest of his grenades. He crawled back for more grenades and when two grenades were thrown at his men from a position to the front, Captain Sprayberry, without hesitation, again exposed himself and charged the enemy-held bunker killing its occupants with a grenade. Placing two men to cover his advance, he crawled forward and neutralized three more bunkers withgrenades. Immediately thereafter, Captain Sprayberry was surprised by an enemy soldier who charged from a concealed position. He killed the soldier with his pistol and with continuing disregard for the danger, neutralized another enemy emplacement. Captain Sprayberry then established radio contact with the isolated men, directing them toward his position. When the two elements made contact he organized his men into litter parties to evacuate the wounded. As the evacuation was nearing completion, he observed an enemy machine gun position which he silenced with a grenade. Captain Sprayberry returned to the rescue party, established security, and moved to friendly lines with the wounded. This rescue operation, which lasted approximately seven and one-half hours, saved the lives of many of his fellow soldiers. Captain Sprayberry personally killed twelve enemy soldiers, eliminated two machine guns, and destroyed numerous enemy bunkers. Captain Sprayberry’s indomitable spirit and gallant action at great personal risk to his life are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.
RICHARD NIXON

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, March 3, 1863, has awarded in the name of The Congress the Medal of Honor to


SERGEANT ROBERT M. PATTERSON
UNITED STATES ARMY

for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty:

Sergeant Robert M. Patterson, (then Speclalist Four), distinguished himself on 6 May 1968 while serving as a fire team leader of the 3d Platoon, B Troop, 2d Squadron, 17th Cavalry during an assault against a North Vietnamese Army Battalion which was entrenched in a heavily fortified position near La Chu, Republic of Vietnam. When the leading squad of the 3d Platoon was pinned down by heavy interlocking automatic weapon and rocket propelled grenade fire from two enemy bunkers, Sergeant Patterson and the two other members of his assault team moved forward under a hail of enemy fire to destroy the bunkers with grenade and machine gun fire. Observing that his comrades were being fired on from a third enemy bunker covered by enemy gunners in one-man spider holes, Sergeant Patterson, with complete disregard for his own safety and ignoring the warning of his comrades that he was moving into a bunker complex, assaulted and destroyed the position. Although exposed to intensive small arm and grenade fire from the bunkers and their mutually supporting emplacements, Sergeant Patterson continued his assault upon the bunkers which were impeding the advance of his unit. Sergeant Patterson single-handedly destroyed by rifle and grenade fire five enemy bunkers, killed eight enemy soldiers and captured seven weapons. His dauntless courage and heroism inspired his platoon to resume the attack and to penetrate the enemy defensive position. Sergeant Patterson by his conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his own life has reflected great credit upon himself, his unit and the United States Army.
RICHARD NIXON

[The President then resumed speaking.]

I am very proud to stand in the company of these men. I am proud to stand in their company because of what you have just heard in the citations that have been read.

I think all of us are proud to be Americans when we realize that America produces such fine young men. History will record that these men are heroes. They are heroes—heroes for what they have done, for the sacrifice that they were willing to make to save others, and for the sacrifice they were willing to endure for their country.

We wonder sometimes how we happen to have men like this, and I am reminded of the fact that often discussions take place as to whether heroes are made or whether they are born. The Carnegie Foundation made a study of this problem going over 30 years. They reached, it seems to me, a very interesting and profound conclusion.

Heroism, the Foundation reported, is not made. Like gold, it is uncovered. Danger does not make heroes; it finds them. Somewhere these men had in their character, character that they acquired from their families, from their homes, from their schools, from their churches, from the heart of America—they had this element of greatness and the danger brought it forth. So we know they are heroes.

It is for us a tragedy that this heroism which was there all the time had to be uncovered because of a war. But also, we are reminded of the fact that on such an occasion we dedicate ourselves anew to bringing the peace which we all want, so that men like this, who have this element of greatness within them, may become heroes, meeting the challenges of peace because heroism is the Nation’s greatest asset, greater than gold. Like gold, heroism must be uncovered.

I am confident that the challenges of peace will uncover great heroism in America’s younger people, just as the dangers of war have uncovered the heroism in these four splendid Americans we honor today.

NOTE: The President spoke at 10:24 a.m. on the South Lawn at the White House.

An announcement of the presentation ceremony dated October 8, 1969, is printed in the Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents (vol. 5, P. 1380).

Contents:

Related Resources

None available for this document.

Download Options


Title: Public Papers of Richard Nixon, 1969

Select an option:

*Note: A download may not start for up to 60 seconds.

Email Options


Title: Public Papers of Richard Nixon, 1969

Select an option:

Email addres:

*Note: It may take up to 60 seconds for for the email to be generated.

Chicago: Richard M. Nixon, "383 Remarks on Presenting the Medal of Honor to Four Members of the United States Army.," Public Papers of Richard Nixon, 1969 in Federal Register Division. National Archives and Records Service, Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, Richard Nixon, 1969 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1956-), Pp.1048-1049 785–786. Original Sources, accessed April 19, 2018, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=DCQ56KJFT2AWE25.

MLA: Nixon, Richard M. "383 Remarks on Presenting the Medal of Honor to Four Members of the United States Army." Public Papers of Richard Nixon, 1969, in Federal Register Division. National Archives and Records Service, Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, Richard Nixon, 1969 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1956-), Pp.1048-1049, pp. 785–786. Original Sources. 19 Apr. 2018. www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=DCQ56KJFT2AWE25.

Harvard: Nixon, RM, '383 Remarks on Presenting the Medal of Honor to Four Members of the United States Army.' in Public Papers of Richard Nixon, 1969. cited in , Federal Register Division. National Archives and Records Service, Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, Richard Nixon, 1969 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1956-), Pp.1048-1049, pp.785–786. Original Sources, retrieved 19 April 2018, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=DCQ56KJFT2AWE25.