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40 years later, helicopter pilot awarded Silver Star
Stars and Stripes European edition ^ | January 25, 2006 | Kevin Dougherty

Posted on 01/24/2006 7:14:01 PM PST by mdittmar

HANAU, Germany — Dressed in his Class A uniform, a suit he bought in Hong Kong in 1969, the veteran helicopter pilot looked fit enough to climb back into the cockpit for another run.

“It fits OK,” said retired Chief Warrant Officer 4 Walter Schramm. “I didn’t have to do any alterations.”

At the behest of the Army, Schramm returned Tuesday to one of his old stomping grounds, Fliegerhorst Casern in Hanau. Forty years after he led an effort to airlift critically wounded soldiers from a volatile valley in the Bong Son Mountains of Vietnam, the Army formally awarded Schramm the Silver Star.

It’s not every day a servicemember — past or present — receives the U.S. military’s third-highest medal for valor, so the 4th Brigade conference room was packed with scores of people.

“It’s good the Army was able to review his citation and upgrade it,” said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Leonard Momeny, a Black Hawk helicopter pilot.

Schramm, 75, was initially awarded an Air Medal with valor for his role in the Feb. 17, 1966, effort to evacuate nearly 20 soldiers from a small, deep valley ringed by the Bong Son Mountains in what was then South Vietnam. He was later informed that his award was going to be upgraded to a Silver Star, but, as is sometimes the case, recollections recede, records stack up and new issues overtake old ones.

Last November, while in Washington, D.C., for an annual Veteran’s Day dinner, Schramm, who now lives in Coburg, Germany, learned that he would be receiving the Silver Star after all.

“I accept this honor with pride,” Schramm said at Tuesday’s ceremony, “not only for myself, but for the crewmembers who flew with me that day.”

February in Vietnam is a transitional month, with the winter-spring rice crop nearing maturity and temperatures on the rise. On the day Schramm and a second helicopter daringly evacuated critically wounded soldiers the slightly overcast sky was punctuated by beams of sunshine.

To the wounded troops on the ground, the sight of Schramm’s UH-1D Huey helicopter landing must have seemed like some divine deliverance.

“There definitely is a bond between people who face death together,” Schramm said after the ceremony. “You can’t duplicate that in civilian life.”

Schramm and his two-ship crew flew in to pick up the wounded after delivering much-needed supplies a short distance away. His men weren’t tasked to evacuate the wounded, but they couldn’t help themselves. They had to do it, and Schramm did it twice.

The presidential citation noted that the landing zone “was insecure due to intense and accurate hostile sniper action” from North Vietnamese soldiers.

On several occasions Tuesday, Schramm credited his crew and the thousands of other servicemembers, whether on the ground, in the air or at sea, who perform heroically, but don’t always get recognized.

“The real award is the accomplishment of what you did,” he said. “This conviction inside of you [to aid your fellow servicemember] is reward enough.”


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS:

Col. Michael Ryan, assistant division commander for maneuvers for the 1st Armored Division, pins the Silver Star on retired Chief Warrant Officer 4 Walter Schramm during a ceremony at Fliegerhorst Casern in Hanau, Germany, on Tuesday. Schramm earned the Silver Star for gallantry in action on Feb. 17, 1966, flying a helicopter in the Bong Son mountains in Vietnam.

1 posted on 01/24/2006 7:14:03 PM PST by mdittmar
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To: mdittmar

That is a cool bump.


2 posted on 01/24/2006 7:16:04 PM PST by SeeRushToldU_So
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To: mdittmar

And let us all stand smartly at attention and salute this brave soldier for a job very well done.


3 posted on 01/24/2006 7:17:41 PM PST by Marine_Uncle (Honor must be earned)
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To: SeeRushToldU_So
Wow. Viet Nam vets are getting old.

75 y.o. Huey pilot.

Way cool!

4 posted on 01/24/2006 7:26:03 PM PST by billorites (freepo ergo sum)
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To: 2LT Radix jr; 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub; 80 Square Miles; AlaninSA; A Ruckus of Dogs; acad1228; ...

Silver Star Awarded 40 years late.


5 posted on 01/24/2006 7:26:39 PM PST by SandRat (Duty, Honor, Country. What else needs to be said?)
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To: SeeRushToldU_So
Click on the picture.

There's music.

6 posted on 01/24/2006 7:28:35 PM PST by billorites (freepo ergo sum)
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To: af_vet_rr; ALOHA RONNIE; American in Israel; American Soldier; archy; armymarinemom; bad company; ..

ping


7 posted on 01/24/2006 7:40:22 PM PST by Cannoneer No. 4 (Amateurs study tactics. Professionals study logistics.)
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To: TADSLOS

ping


8 posted on 01/24/2006 7:41:40 PM PST by Cannoneer No. 4 (Amateurs study tactics. Professionals study logistics.)
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To: mdittmar; Cannoneer No. 4

So nice,bump.


9 posted on 01/24/2006 7:46:23 PM PST by fatima
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To: Cannoneer No. 4

About time!
(I bet the troopers he evacd that day recognize him every day in thankful prayer.)


10 posted on 01/24/2006 7:50:26 PM PST by cavtrooper21 (No snappy tagline ideas available at this time... Please try again later.)
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To: Cannoneer No. 4

Thanks for the ping, Cannoneer. Those Vietnam era helicopter pilots were my inspiration to become an Army Aviator. They were real innovators, heroic, crazy and had to be damned good pilots to have a chance to survive in the environment they flew and fought in. I'm damned proud of 'em. They are the legacy of modern Army Aviation and we are still learning from them (and re-applying their battle proven tactics now as well to devastating effect).


11 posted on 01/24/2006 7:58:34 PM PST by TADSLOS (Right Wing Infidel since 1954)
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To: mdittmar
To the wounded troops on the ground, the sight of Schramm’s UH-1D Huey helicopter landing must have seemed like some divine deliverance.

Guaranteed...

12 posted on 01/24/2006 8:07:46 PM PST by joesnuffy (A camel once bit our sister.. but we knew what to do.. we gathered rocks and squashed her!)
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To: joesnuffy

Hero bump!


13 posted on 01/24/2006 8:20:27 PM PST by MEG33 (GOD BLESS OUR ARMED FORCES)
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To: mdittmar; All

.

1966 Bong Son Pictures:

http://www.lzxray.com/guyer_set2.htm
(3rd & 4th Pictures down)


Signed:.."ALOHA RONNIE" Guyer
Veteran-Battle of BONG SON-1966


.


14 posted on 01/24/2006 8:24:30 PM PST by ALOHA RONNIE ("ALOHA RONNIE" Guyer/Veteran-"WE WERE SOLDIERS" Battle of IA DRANG-1965 http://www.lzxray.com)
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To: TADSLOS
They were real innovators, heroic, crazy

Crazy? Talk about understatement.

The first time I got into a chopper the right seat pilot had "Xin Loi Charlie" on the back of his helmet. The left side pilot's bore "Mad Dog."
Half of that flight I was looking straight down at the ground hoping those belts would really hold.
The other half I was looking straight up while the guys on the other side got to enjoy picking the leaves off trees.
I knew what NOE was, but the first time it's just a triffle TERRIFIING!

Those guys were good.

15 posted on 01/24/2006 8:41:29 PM PST by ASA Vet (Those who know don't talk, those who talk don't know.)
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To: ASA Vet
Worked with a great guy on a golfcourse in Scottsdale,Az about 10 years ago,he walked with a bad limp,asked him about it over beers one night.

"Vietnam,flew choppers,hard landing".

That's all he said,I never brought it up again,either did he.

16 posted on 01/24/2006 9:16:52 PM PST by mdittmar (May God watch over those who serve,and have served, to keep us free.)
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To: Cannoneer No. 4

His descendants are doing the same work today in Afghanistan and Iraq. Good to see him recognized for his skill and bravery.

Regards,


17 posted on 01/24/2006 9:29:59 PM PST by Thunder 6
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To: Cannoneer No. 4

Thanks for the ping!


18 posted on 01/24/2006 9:36:12 PM PST by Alamo-Girl
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To: mdittmar; ALOHA RONNIE; ASA Vet

Awesome! simply awesome! :)


To all the Vietnam Vets here.... Thanks guys for showing all that followed that American Grit and determination will win a war even when the cards are stacked against you.... as long as you keep the F*$%#@$% Politicans out of it. Thanks fellas we can never repay you for your service, but can honor you for it and learn from.


19 posted on 01/24/2006 9:44:27 PM PST by Americanwolf (Support the Minutemen Civil Defense Corp...Doing the Job our government won't !)
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To: joesnuffy
"To the wounded troops on the ground, the sight of Schramm’s UH-1D Huey helicopter landing must have seemed like some divine deliverance."
Guaranteed...

Amen to that.

20 posted on 01/24/2006 11:41:48 PM PST by Khurkris ("Hell, I was there"...Elmer Keith.)
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To: Cannoneer No. 4

Good to see.


21 posted on 01/25/2006 2:28:21 AM PST by R. Scott (Humanity i love you because when you're hard up you pawn your Intelligence to buy a drink.)
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To: billorites
Wow. Viet Nam vets are getting old.

And what did you expect? That we found some fountain of youth? You are probably getting old at the same rate that I am. Let me see now, I had just hit 20 when I went to Viet Nam in August 1970, I wonder how old that makes me now?

22 posted on 01/25/2006 2:55:58 AM PST by SLB ("We must lay before Him what is in us, not what ought to be in us." C. S. Lewis)
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To: Americanwolf

You are quite welcome. I was proud to serve then and am proud that as of this coming Monday I will have 35 years of active federal service (Active Army and Army Civilian Employee)


23 posted on 01/25/2006 2:58:16 AM PST by SLB ("We must lay before Him what is in us, not what ought to be in us." C. S. Lewis)
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To: SLB

:-)


I refuse to grow up or old.


24 posted on 01/25/2006 2:59:36 AM PST by leadpenny
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To: The Drowning Witch

What a great story!


25 posted on 01/25/2006 3:01:24 AM PST by Jackknife ( "I bet after seeing us, George Washington would sue us for calling him 'father'." óWill Rogers)
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To: SandRat

BTTT


26 posted on 01/25/2006 3:02:15 AM PST by E.G.C.
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To: Cannoneer No. 4

Very cool bump!


27 posted on 01/25/2006 4:13:21 AM PST by Professional Engineer (Have a Corin day!)
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To: leadpenny

cool story ping.


28 posted on 01/25/2006 4:17:01 AM PST by Fierce Allegiance (I don't mean that to be rude!)
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To: mdittmar

Such are the men that make this country a very great place to live.


29 posted on 01/25/2006 5:49:29 AM PST by exnavy (God bless Amreica)
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