I'll just answer 5 - One of the greatest men I've had the honor to know was my father in law. He passed recently and we discovered this story about him. I'll miss him every time I fish, hunt shrooms, cook out and watch the Browns.
Fiery 5-Hour Battle
"I've Got A Company Full of Heroes"
CAMP EVANS, Vietnam - A battered 101st Airborne Div. unit which fought North Vietnamese for five explosive hours Wednesday morning at and on Fire Support Base Henderson, 45 miles northwest of Hue, returned here Friday. Although the soldiers say they lost more than the NVA, their captain said flatly, "I've got a company full of heroes."
Their captain is James E. Mitchell, 25. Mitchell and his men Friday recounted the story of an hours-long attempt amid fiery and fog-shrouded death to rescue a reconnaissance element trapped between the NVA and an exploding ammunition dump. Nearly all the while, the NVA was fighting all around the hill.
From the time the battle started, according to Mitchell, he had been unable to make contact with the reconnaissance element guarding the far end of the hill. And when the fighting began, he said, he told S. Sgt. Robert Nichol to get men and go down to find them.
Nichol, a veteran of heavy battle on the so-called "Re-Up Hill" and on Fire Support Base Granite during the past month, said he was on guard when the enemy touched off flares on his side of the hill. By the time he was ready to move down to contact the guards at the far end, Nichol said, the ammo dump straddling the hill in between was on fire and rounds were popping off.
As Nichol tells it, he told his captain, "there's a big fire down there. You can't imagine how big it is."
Still, Nichol moved his men toward the area. He pulled them back, he said, when he saw a pallet of ammo smoldering. Minutes later, he said, the pallet blew.
Then, Nichol said, they tried another approach. The explosions from the ammo dump had been, as Nichol and others described them, like an earthquake. They said one pilot in a chopper overhead radioed that one blast, almost blew him out of the sky.
One of the men Nichol took with him was Sgt. Joe Waage, a former dice-dealer in a Reno, Nev., Casino. Waage had been in Vietnam a week and he said he couldn't believe what he was seeing.
They said at one pointer a soldier, "a big farmer" who they knew only as "Silent Sam,". ran up dangerously close to the roaring fire and dragged to safety a soldier who was screaming that his foot had been blown off.
It was several hours, Nichol and Waage said, before they were able to get around the searing fire. They said that as they tried to get around the flames, risking the explosions, they could hear the trapped soldiers calling for help, yelling "GIs, GIs."
The first man we saw," one of them said, "was a recon medic and he was holding his head with part of it gone."
Despite his wounds, the said, the medic was tending to another wounded soldier.
The medic was telling the more seriously wounded soldier about his home town, trying to keep him out of shock. "I'll tell you," Waage said, "a medic is the greatest thing in the world to see."
Just as great, they said, were dustoff medevac pilots who landed their chopper amid exploding rounds and incoming fire to rescue the men at the end of the hill. The recon element, they said, took 100 per cent casualties. Had it not been for the dustoff, and perhaps for the rescue through the fire, it might have been 100 per cent killed in action.
Waage said he couldn't tell what made men do what they did. Silent Sam, one of the said, "could just as easily have said he didn't hear anything." But they said he acted on what he heard. That Waage explained is why he himself acted. " You just had to hear them calling," Waage said.
Spec. 4 Seth Upksy
Stars and Stripes
This event took place May 6, 1970, rather than in April, and the individual is known as more than "Silent Sam." His name is Richard Takos. I was with him that night. Someone ran over to our hole, which was right on the edge of the ammo dump, and asked for help carrying the wounded soldier mentioned. With my heart full of terror, I said, "I'll go," but I had no sooner said it than finger jumped out of the hole saying, "Nah, I'll do it," without a quiver in his voice. I saw a book listing all the recipients of the DSC in Nam. I was disappointed to not see his name there. - Dave Schmidli