Wounded Times

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Saturday, March 2, 2013

Tampa Vietnam veteran gets long-delayed Bronze Star

Vietnam veteran gets long-delayed Bronze Star
William R. Levesque
Times Staff Writer
Friday, March 1, 2013

TAMPA — The 22-year-old Tampa kid, a radioman in Charlie Company, wasn't thinking about medals or heroics. He crawled in the muck of a rice paddy in Vietnam with a radio on his back that felt like a big bulls-eye.

It seemed as if the entire Viet Cong army was out to kill him.

Three companies of the Army's 9th Infantry Division had just walked into an ambush on the afternoon of June 19, 1967, in the Mekong Delta. Hundreds of enemy guns opened up. The radio operator tried to crawl to the only cover he could see — the earthen wall of a dike no more than a foot high.

Somewhere behind him in a village the Americans had just cleared, a sniper's aim settled on the radioman's back. A trigger was pulled.

The draftee would never reach the dike.
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