It is time for President Obama to award the Congressional Medal of Honor to Private First Class Guy Gabaldon for his heroic actions during the Battle of Saipan in the Second World War. While PFC Gabaldon died in 2006, awarding him the Medal of Honor would send a powerful, yet positive message to the rest of the world.
His commanders had recommended him for the Congressional Medal of Honor, but he was awarded the Silver Star instead. His medal was later upgraded to the Navy Cross. Efforts to award him the Medal of Honor continued as late as 1998.
One of the most important promises President Obama made during his presidential campaign was to restore the reputation of the United States to the rest of the world. One important way of doing this is award PFC Gabaldon with the Medal of Honor.
This will send a message that the United States will honor those individuals who will turn to peace, even in the most unlikely of times.
Gabaldon's Navy Cross citation reads as follows:
The Navy Cross is presented to Guy L. Gabaldon, Private First Class, U.S. Marine Corps (Reserve), for extraordinary heroism while serving with Headquarters and Service Company, Second Marines, Second Marine Division, in action against enemy Japanese forces on Saipan and Tinian, Northern Mariana Islands, South Pacific Area, from 15 June to 1 August 1944. Acting as a Japanese Interpreter for the Second Marines, Private First Class Gabaldon displayed extreme courage and initiative in single-handedly capturing enemy civilian and military personnel during the Saipan and Tinian operations. Working alone in front of the lines, he daringly entered enemy caves, pillboxes, buildings, and jungle brush, frequently in the face of hostile fire, and succeeded in not only obtaining vital military information, but in capturing well over one thousand enemy civilians and troops. Through his valiant and distinguished exploits, Private First Class Gabaldon made an important contribution to the successful prosecution of the campaign and, through his efforts, a definite humane treatment of civilian prisoners was assured. His courageous and inspiring devotion to duty throughout reflects the highest credit upon himself and the United States Naval Service.
ZUI also this article from OregonLive.com:
Larry [Liss] is a Vietnam War hero ... a word I don't use lightly. But hero is exactly the right word to describe a pilot who piloted or copiloted an unarmed helicopter five times into a lopsided firefight into a jungle so dense with bamboo that he and his fellow pilot had to create a landing zone by chopping down the stalks with their rotors. Further, Liss jumped out of the Huey to help load people aboard, even as North Vietnamese fighters closed in, and he held onto two soldiers clinging to the outside of the craft as it hoisted itself into the air. Thanks to his efforts and those of two others on the same crazy, unplanned mission in 1967, some 87 South Vietnamese, Laotian, Cambodian and Chinese irregulars and a U.S. adviser were saved from capture or death. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for his actions that day.
[A]t least two members of Congress are supporting the idea of giving Liss and his comrades an upgrade to the Congressional Medal of Honor, the nation's highest award. Sen. Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico and Rep. Joe Sestak of Pennsylvania have urged the Pentagon to award Liss and his comrades the honor, which might represent the last opportunity to confer awards to a group of Vietnam veterans.
Liss's DFC citation reads as follows:
The President of the United States takes great pleasure in presenting Captain Lawrence M. Liss the Distinguished Flying Cross for heroism while participating in aerial flight evidenced by voluntary actions above and beyond the call of duty in the Republic of Vietnam on 14 May 1967 while serving with the Aviation Detachment, II Field Force Vietnam. On that date, Captain Liss was pilot of an unarmed helicopter transporting the II Field Force Vietnam Staff Chaplain to Special Forces camps in the III Corps area for Sunday services. Arriving at Cau Song Be Special Forces Camp, he learned that a Civilian Irregular Defense Group company was engaged in heavy fighting with a numerically superior Viet Cong force a few miles away. Disregarding his own safety, Captain Liss volunteered his services to fly in reinforcements and evacuate wounded personnel. To successfully land on a narrow dirt road flanked by bamboo thickets and heavy foliage, Captain Liss had to use his rotors to cut through the dense underbrush, an extremely hazardous undertaking. Reinforcing troops were unloaded and the casualties were placed on the aircraft. Again using the rotors to clear a path for take-off, Captain Liss brought the wounded soldiers safely back to Cau Song Be. Upon landing, he was asked to return to evacuate the entire company. Captain Liss again courageously volunteered his services, disregarding his own safety. Sharing the flying responsibilities with the aircraft commander, he made five trips. The danger increased with each lift, not only because of the reduced number of personnel left to protect the perimeter against an intensified enemy attack, but because radio contact had been lost with the tactical air support aircraft and the helicopter had to be maneuvered through friendly air support fire and artillery fire flanking their flight path. Through the valiant efforts of Captain Liss, the Civilian Irregular Defense Group company was rescued and their casualties evacuated successfully. His exemplary professional skill and determination in the face of hostile fire and extreme danger to his own safety were instrumental in the successful accomplishment of the aircraft's mission. Captain Liss' extraordinary accomplishment was in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflects great credit upon himself, II Field Force Vietnam and the United States Army.