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Posted: May 25 2010, 01:59 PM
Member No.: 1
Joined: 6-June 09
Hi fellow Squirrels.....
I wanted to share this with you guys.
Please read all the way to the bottom for why this is a big deal for me and why I'm posting.
Bruce P. Crandall - retired U.S. Army - Received the Medal of Honor for his actions during the Battle of Ia Drang in November 1965.
During the battle he flew 22 missions in an unarmed helicopter into enemy fire to bring ammunition and supplies and evacuate the wounded.
For those who saw it, his actions were depicted in the movie "WE WERE SOLDIERS".
On November 14, 1965, he led the first major division operation of air mobile troops into Landing Zone X-Ray in Vietnam's Battle of Ia Drang and is credited with evacuating some 70 wounded comrades with his wing man and fellow Medal of Honor recipient Major Ed Freeman. The two also flew in the ammunition needed for the 7th Cavalry to survive. The craft he was flying was unarmed.
In January 1966, during the first combined American and South Vietnamese Army operation, "Operation Masher", Crandall, while under intense enemy fire and with only a spot flashlight beam to guide him, twice dropped his Huey helicopter through the dense jungle canopy to rescue 12 wounded soldiers. For his courage in that incident Crandall received the Aviation & Space Writers Helicopter Heroism Award for 1966.
By the end of the Vietnam War, he had flown over 900 combat missions.
In 1977 he retired from the Army as a Lieutenant Colonel.
His Military Honors include........
On February 26, 2007, Crandall received the Medal of Honor from President George W. Bush in a ceremony in the East Room of the White House.
In addition to the Medal of Honor he also received......
Master Army Aviator Badge
Distinguished Service Cross
Distinguished Flying Cross with three bronze oak leaf clusters
Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters
Air Medal (with award numeral 23)
Army Commendation Medal
Presidential Unit Citation
Valorous Unit Award
Meritorious Unit Commendation
Army Good Conduct Medal
National Defense Service Medal with one bronze oak leaf cluster
Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal
Vietnam Service Medal with three bronze service stars
Armed Forces Reserve Medal
Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm and Gold Star (only highest device is worn)
Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation with Palm (retroactively awarded per Army General Order 8)
Vietnam Campaign Medal
This is his Medal of Honor citation............
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty: Major Bruce P. Crandall distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism as a Flight Commander in the Republic of Vietnam, while serving with Company A, 229th Assault Helicopter Battalion, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile). On 14 November 1965, his flight of sixteen helicopters was lifting troops for a search and destroy mission from Plei Me, Vietnam, to Landing Zone X-Ray in the Ia Drang Valley. On the fourth troop lift, the airlift began to take enemy fire, and by the time the aircraft had refueled and returned for the next troop lift, the enemy had Landing Zone X-Ray targeted. As Major Crandall and the first eight helicopters landed to discharge troops on his fifth troop lift, his unarmed helicopter came under such intense enemy fire that the ground commander ordered the second flight of eight aircraft to abort their mission. As Major Crandall flew back to Plei Me, his base of operations, he determined that the ground commander of the besieged infantry battalion desperately needed more ammunition. Major Crandall then decided to adjust his base of operations to Artillery Firebase Falcon in order to shorten the flight distance to deliver ammunition and evacuate wounded soldiers. While medical evacuation was not his mission, he immediately sought volunteers and with complete disregard for his own personal safety, led the two aircraft to Landing Zone X-Ray. Despite the fact that the landing zone was still under relentless enemy fire, Major Crandall landed and proceeded to supervise the loading of seriously wounded soldiers aboard his aircraft. Major Crandall's voluntary decision to land under the most extreme fire instilled in the other pilots the will and spirit to continue to land their own aircraft, and in the ground forces the realization that they would be resupplied and that friendly wounded would be promptly evacuated. This greatly enhanced morale and the will to fight at a critical time. After his first medical evacuation, Major Crandall continued to fly into and out of the landing zone throughout the day and into the evening. That day he completed a total of 22 flights, most under intense enemy fire, retiring from the battlefield only after all possible service had been rendered to the Infantry battalion. His actions provided critical resupply of ammunition and evacuation of the wounded. Major Crandall's daring acts of bravery and courage in the face of an overwhelming and determined enemy are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.
In addition to his military decorations he has also received other honors as well including being inducted into the United States Air Force's "Gathering of Eagles" in 1994 and the Army Aviation Hall of Fame in 2004.
In 2001, Crandall was an aviation consultant on the movie We Were Soldiers about the Battle of Ia Drang. The movie, based on the book "We Were Soldiers Once… And Young" was released in 2002. Crandall was portrayed in the film by actor Greg Kinnear.
The Olympia High School Baseball Field was named after Lt. Col. Crandall in a ceremony prior to the 2007 season. Crandall was a High School All-American baseball player for Olympia High School.
On Monday May 24th, 2010 I had the HONOR of meeting this true American Hero when he spoke to us riders on the Southern Route of RUN FOR THE WALL in Jackson Mississippi.
He showed me photographs of a huey landing and talked with me for over 5 minutes, even though others were waiting.
He's a really great guy, and very friendly and personable.
I will remember it always.
It was the highlight of my ride this year.
The MS Governor Haley Barbour showed up this year, and Lt. Gov. Phil bryant rode with us from Tallulah, LA.
I talked with Phil for a few minutes while waiting to meet Bruce Crandall.
Posted: May 25 2010, 04:45 PM
Member No.: 44
Joined: 6-August 09
What an honor, thanks for sharing it with us.
I think that makes up for not posting a lot of pictures. ;) B)
Posted: May 25 2010, 05:43 PM
Member No.: 51
Joined: 21-August 09
I can see why it means a lot to you, Don. We have 'We Were Soldiers' on DVD and have watched it a few times and Greg Kinnear played him well IMO. It would be a huge honor to meet the man!
Very... very... B)
Posted: May 25 2010, 06:22 PM
Member No.: 44
Joined: 6-August 09
I'm back once again, that's an awesome picture.(Posted Image)