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    Honorary Air Assault Badges Awarded to Vietnam Veterans

    Vietnam Veteran is Proud of his Honorary Air Assault Badge

    Photo By Capt. Matthew Visser | Vietnam veterans gather at the Sabalauski Air Assault School to receive the Honorary...... read more read more

    Veterans, Soldiers, and community leaders gathered at the Sabalauski Air Assault School to recognize veterans who received the Honorary Air Assault Badge on June 24, 2021.

    Air Assault Soldiers train so they are able to infiltrate into unknown territories, fight on foot for miles, and win. The 101st Airborne Division Association in partnership with the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) solicited packets for consideration for the Honorary Air Assault Badge earlier this year.

    In order to be considered, the veterans must have been assigned or attached to a combat unit in the 101st Airborne Division, 101st Air Cavalry Division, 101st Airborne Division (Airmobile) or 1st Cavalry Division during the period from 1965 through 1972, serving in direct combat in a combat arms duty military occupational specialty, or while in a combat support military operational specialty assigned to a 101st or 1st Cavalry Division combat unit in Vietnam.

    “I just want to acknowledge that this is probably one of, if not the, largest graduating classes in the history of the Sabalauski Air Assault School,” said Maj. Gen. JP McGee, the Commanding General of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault).

    When these Soldiers fought in Vietnam, the Air Assault Badge as we know it today had not yet been created. In the early 1960s, there was an unofficial version of the Air Mobile Badge that existed for Soldiers to wear while serving in the 11st Airborne Division, if they had completed three air assault operations. When the 11th Airborne Division cased its colors in 1965, the unofficial Air Mobile Badge did not survive.

    It was not until 1971 while serving in Vietnam, that the design of the Air Assault Badge was created by Maj. Jack Rickman. The Air Assault Badge was approved for wear by Maj. Gen. Sidney Berry in a Division General Order on April 1, 1974.

    “I am thrilled to be able to finally acknowledge your achievements which are long overdue, by recognizing those that have truly earned their Air Assault Wings,” Maj. Gen. McGee continues, “forged through combat operations in Vietnam.”

    For me and my cadre, this was a humbling experience to welcome these gentlemen to get what they deserve – they went through the hardships of landing on a helicopter landing zone under direct contact,” shared 1st Sgt. Michael Dufault, the First Sergeant of the Sabalauski Air Assault School.

    Despite the ceremony being a celebration, the sentiment among the veterans receiving the honor was at times somber as they reflected on those who never returned.

    One of the veterans receiving the honor, Gary Secrest shared, “I am thankful to be with all the other Vietnam veterans who can be here to get this honor, and to have been shown appreciation for what we did way back when.”

    Ed Medros, another veteran who received the badge shared, “it brings back a lot of memories. I have a lot of thankfulness to be here, and remorsefulness for those who are not with me.”

    Over three-hundred and fifty veterans responsible for pioneering the air mobile tactics in the crucible of combat gathered under the large tent for the ceremony.

    As the veterans stood at attention to receive the honor, Black Hats from the Sabalauski Air Assault School, accompanied by Maj. Gen. JP McGee, and Command Sgt. Maj. Veronica Knapp, the division command sergeant major, presented the formation with the Honorary Air Assault Badges.



    Date Taken: 06.26.2021
    Date Posted: 06.28.2021 09:54
    Story ID: 399828
    Location: US

    Web Views: 1,463
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