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paladin
09-14-2010, 10:45 PM
Richard Etchberger died in Laos in 1968, saving fellow Americans at a top-secret radar station overrun by North Vietnamese commandos.

Etchberger, who grew up north of Reading, Pa., was nominated that year for the Medal of Honor. But there was a problem: The United States was not supposed to have troops in Laos. President Lyndon B. Johnson declined to award the medal.

On July 7 of this year, Etchberger's son, Cory, received a phone call. "Will you please hold for the president?" a woman asked.

President Obama then told Cory Etchberger that his father would finally receive the Medal of Honor.

"It's been a long time coming," Obama told Etchberger, 51, of Schwenksville, Montgomery County.

Cory Etchberger, who recounted the conversation with Obama, was 9 when his father died at Lima Site 85, which directed bombing missions into North Vietnam and Laos.

Richard Etchberger, a chief master sergeant in the Air Force, was selected to work at the radar station and was converted into a civilian employee of Lockheed so his presence in Laos would not technically violate that country's neutrality.

The radar station directed 507 strike missions against North Vietnamese targets from November 1967 until March 11, 1968, when enemy soldiers engaged the facility in a fierce battle, according to the Air Force.

Under withering fire, Etchberger loaded wounded comrades into slings to be raised into a rescue helicopter before coming aboard himself. He was mortally wounded by an armor-piercing bullet that had ripped through the chopper.

Etchberger was posthumously awarded the Air Force Cross in a secret Pentagon ceremony. His family, except for his parents, who were sworn to secrecy, was not told what really happened.

The mission was declassified years later, but Etchberger was not eligible for the Medal of Honor because of a time limit. In 2008, Congress approved a waiver.

His family will attend a White House medal ceremony on Sept. 21.

skuthorp
09-14-2010, 11:09 PM
About time, I presume they waited till anyone who could have been accused of war crimes was safely dead.

paladin
09-15-2010, 11:54 AM
Richard Etchberger, a chief master sergeant in the Air Force, was selected to work at the radar station and was converted into a civilian employee of Lockheed so his presence in Laos would not technically violate that country's neutrality.


and that is how the "civilian mercenary" business got started there....we weren't there. We have no military in Lao...or Cambodia.....remember that?

John of Phoenix
09-15-2010, 01:43 PM
I suspect "Mister" Etchberger is not the only case.



We have no military in Lao...or Cambodia.....remember that?
Right, right, never been anywhere near there, don't have the patch or anything. Me? I don't know nothin'.

http://www.combat.ws/S4/MILTERMS/IMAGES/WAR1GAME.JPG

Bobby of Tulsa
09-15-2010, 01:51 PM
I suspect "Mister" Etchberger is not the only case.

Right, right, never been anywhere near there, don't have the patch or anything. Me? I don't know nothin'.

http://www.combat.ws/S4/MILTERMS/IMAGES/WAR1GAME.JPG

That cant be real, Never happened. :d

paladin
09-15-2010, 02:06 PM
What was really bad was landing at the airfield in Nakiid Fanny...being hauled to the O club for some dinner...to the barracks for a bit of sleep.....then about 4 p,m, picked up for one last flight....being dropped off at the airfield and wandering around for 20 minutes looking for your airplane....then noticing that the bird in front of you with the three headed elephant and all the Thai markings have the same airframe number as your aircraft......today you fly for the Royal Thai Air Farce...manana it's Lao.......paychecks come from 4 different companies in 6 months......