A Veteran’s BraveryNovember 7, 2020
A funeral I officiated recently had a uniqueness about it I will not soon forget. I did not know the family but I discovered that he had been a long time Army warrior and finished his career as a Lieutenant Colonel after turning down a promotion to Full Bird because he didn’t want to spend three years abroad. When I was asked to lead the service I was informed the family had requested a Major General to attend and provide the eulogy. This career Army officer knew the deceased personally and provided some amazing stories of how he had earned many accolades, medals, and appreciation for his service to our country.
The medal that Lt. Colonel Curtis was most proud of was one of his two Distinguished Flying Cross commendations. During the Vietnam war he was serving as a Bird dog pilot – a light unarmed Cessna airplane that was used mainly for recon and intelligence gathering. The VC had slipped through some pretty intense shelling and were within 50 meters of an American position. The artillery had decided that was too close to the compound to continue firing due to the chances of friendly fire. The only tool the Americans had to hold the line and push back the enemy were helicopter gun ships – but the pilots were unsure where the enemy was located.
The medal was earned when Curtis suggested the helicopter pilots follow him in. He knew where the enemy was but his plane had no way to neutralize the threat. So he takes his L-19 Bird dog and leads the choppers right to the enemy position. Due to his bravery and selfless actions, the Americans were not overrun and the enemy wasn’t able to cross the wire. What a testament to fearlessness and patriotism.
Today we honor our Veterans. Thank you for your service to our country. Thank you to your families who held down the home front while you were/are away ensuring our peace and safety. Our country would not be what we know without the sacrifice and selflessness of countless men and women who bravely answered the call of our Armed Services. We thank you!!
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