Monday, November 16, 2009

Long time coming

Veteran receives awards earned in Vietnam

By Matt Smith/

U.S. Army Cpl. Roger Black served from June 1969 to March 1971 and was injured June 24, 1970, while serving in Vietnam.

On Friday, at the Booker T. Washington Community and Recreation Center, Black finally received some long overdue awards earned during his time in service.

U.S. Rep. Chet Edwards, D-Waco, and Sgt. Gib Rosetter, Black's platoon sergeant in Vietnam, presented Black with the Bronze Star Medal, the Purple Heart, the Air Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, the Good Conduct Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal and Bronze Star Attachment, the Combat Infantryman Badge 1st Award, the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Ribbon, the Expert Badge and Machine Gun Bar and Rifle Bar and the Marksman Badge and Auto Rifle Bar.

"One of my favorite parts of my job is when I get the rare privilege to present medals to veterans who earned them many years before," Edwards said. "While our nation may have been slow in recognizing you with the Bronze Star and Purple Heart, I hope you know we'll never forget the service and sacrifice of you and your comrades."

Rosetter pinned the medals on Black before the two saluted one another and embraced.

Army Lt. Scott Tekell read the names of members of those killed in action who served with Black in the 101st Airborne Division, 1st Battalion, 506th Infantry, Company Delta, Vietnam.

"I don't have much to say, except that I'm very glad and honored to have been able to serve my country," Black said. "I'm glad to have my staff sergeant who was there with me here today. He had it worse there than I did."

Edwards closed the ceremony by thanking all Vietnam veterans for their service.

"I know you were not honored the way you should have been when you came home," Edwards said. "But your service in Vietnam was a huge part of making communism pay a terrible price. And you helped the United States win the 50-year Cold War."

Carol Black wrote:

Roger Black is now a retired DC-9 (MD80) Captain from American Airlines. The reading of Roger's friends killed in action was done by retired Army Lieutenant Colonel Scott Tekell. The killed in action reading was as follows:

KIA May 7, 1970:
First Lieutenant Lawrence E. Fletcher
Sergeant Joseph V. Redmond
Sergeant Lloyd W. Jackson
Specialist 4 Robert R. Lohenry
Specialist 4 Jose A. Gonzalez
Specialist 4 Robert F. Berger
Private First Class Peter A. Cook

KIA May 19, 1970:
Specialist 4 Thomas W. Johnson

KIA June 23, 1970:
Specialist 4 Donald A. Rowley
Specialist 4 Michael L. Baldini

KIA July 20, 1970:
Specialist 4 Eloy R. Valle
Private First Class Bill G. Browning
Private First Class Patrick T. De Wulf
Private First Class John C. Knott

KIA July 21, 1970:
Captain Donald R. Workman
Private First Class Frank L. Asher
Private First Class Robert B. Hays
Private First Class Peter P. Huk
Private First Class Ronald J. Schultz (MIA)
Special mention, casualty of the Vietnam War, November 29, 1991: Private First Class, Kenneth M. Kays, Congressional Medal of Honor Winner!