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One of the many unrecognized heroes of the Vietnam War battle of Ia Drang, a helicopter pilot who repeatedly risked his life to support the troops encircled by overwhelming numbers of North Vietnamese Army regulars, received his long overdue Medal of Honor at the White House on Monday. His story is told in the book "We Were Soldiers Once . . . and Young" by Lt. Col. Harold "Hal" G. Moore, and in the movie based on the book.

If you haven’t read the book, you should. As usual, it’s far better than the movie, which IMHO is the very best Vietnam War movie ever made. (Of course, that’s not saying much considering how Hollywood usually depicts the Vietnam War. The only other positive depiction Hollywood has made that I’m ever seen is John Wayne’s “The Green Berets.” Compare these two to the usual Hollywood Vietnam War “baby killer” movies, like “Platoon” and “Apocalypse Now!”)

Speaking on behalf of Vietnam War veterans, I say it’s way past time a few more of the heroes of that war get their just recognition. (And I must add I was almost speechless when I ran across this story in the online edition of The Washington Times. How on earth did this sneak by the WaPo’s editors?)

Retired Lt. Col. Bruce P. Crandall, 74, a helicopter pilot in Vietnam, wears his flight jacket and holds his original helmet outside his home in Manchester, Wash.

"It was hell on earth -- for a short period of time," Crandall, 74, recalled Friday from his home in Manchester, Wash.

Forty-one years ago, Crandall flew his unarmed Huey helicopter into the deadliest landing zone of the Vietnam War -- not once or twice, but 22 times -- to keep resupplying a besieged Army battalion and evacuating dozens of wounded, even as North Vietnamese soldiers fired AK-47 rifles at him from as close as 30 yards away.
Take the time to read the full story of Crandall’s heroics. May his tribe increase!
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