On May 16th, President Obama presented the widow of Specialist 4 Leslie H. Sabo, Jr. with the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest honor for actions in combat. It was a very moving ceremony and an honor that was well overdo.
Today, I had the privilege of hosting a bloggers round table with members of Spc. 4 Sabo’s unit, many of whom were with him during the ambush on May 10, 1970 in which he was presented the award.
Since I’ve been working in Army Public Affairs, I have hosted round tables with two Sergeants Major of the Army, numerous 3 and 4-star generals and a host of other important people, but today’s round table was different. Today’s round table wasn’t just about an Army campaign or issue in the news-today’s round table was about passion, honor, loyalty, commitment and the values of the Army.
These four men, Mr. (Spc.) Rich Rios, Mr. (Cpt.) Jim Waywright, Mr. (Spc. 4) Rick Clanton and Mr. (Spc) Bruce Dancesia, embody every ounce of what it means to be a Soldier, even after forty years of being out of the Army. For 45 minutes, these men talked about their unit, Company B, 3d Battalion, 506th Infantry, 101st Airborne Division, as if it was only yesterday that they deployed and fought side-by-side in Vietnam. Their descriptions of their fellow Soldiers and their service experience was so intriguing, I found myself staring when they spoke (as if I was trying to imagine every word).
What was even more fascinating was that the gentlemen talked very candidly about their experiences, holding nothing back. During conversations about the mission in Cambodia in which they were ambushed, Mr. Waywright acknowledged that they knew this mission was going to be dangerous. Mr. Rios even referred to Bravo Company as the “red-headed step children” who were sent on missions that no one else would go on.
Listening to these men today, I have honestly never had a greater sense of understanding, respect and pride in the history of our country and the U.S. Army. It’s one thing to read articles about battles and war and the sacrifices others have made – but it is something different to be among men who speak of their fellow Soldiers as if they were blood relatives and display the pride of their unit through the pins on their jackets and the tone of their voice.
I know it’s rare that I actually write a blog post for Army Live myself, but I had to take this opportunity to express just how humble and honored I was to be a part of this round table. I was able to meet and listen to four men who lived and breathed the Army way of life and continue to be Army Strong!
Listen to the round table here.