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Old 05-22-2004, 17:14   #1
Martinez
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Special Forces honors fallen ‘Green Berets' in Vietnam War

Special Forces honors fallen ‘Green Berets' in Vietnam War

22 May 2004

FORT CAMPBELL -- Soldiers with the 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne) who fought in the Vietnam War immediately after the unit was activated in 1961 were "ordinary people behaving in extraordinary ways."

"They were real people who loved what they did, sought the hard assignments, loved the excitement and most of all loved the 5th Group and their buddies," Special Forces commander Col. Hector Pagan said.

On Friday, the unit based here on post conducted a memorial dedication at Gabriel Field. A plaque was unveiled, honoring the 695 "Green Berets" killed in action and 79 missing in action during Vietnam. Of the latter 79, only three soldiers have been recovered.

"From this day on, there will be a place here where you can come pay your respects and honor the ones we lost in southeast Asia," Pagan told veterans and family members.

The monument joins the memorial trees and other plaques honoring the lives of Special Forces soldiers who have died since 1989.

"A unit such as ours writes its history every day, adding new and proud chapters," Pagan said. "This way, the end is yet to come. And as long as we gather to remember, there will never be an end."

The 5th Special Forces Group was officially activated on Sept. 21, 1961, at Fort Bragg, N.C., where the U.S. Army Special Forces Command is headquartered. Within one year, elements of the unit began serving tours in Vietnam. By February 1965, the entire Special Forces Group was fully deployed overseas to Southeast Asia.

Special Forces units are known as "quiet professionals" because of the high-caliber training soldiers receive.

Recently, during their deployment in Operation Iraqi Freedom, members of the 5th Group were responsible for much of the secretive routing out of Saddam Hussein supporters in Baghdad and other parts of Iraq. Additionally, troops with the support unit fought deadly battles against al–Qaida and Taliban fighters in Afghanistan throughout much of the war there.

"Special Forces is still on the right track, and I see them going on forever," said retired Command Sgt. Maj. Jim Hargraves, who fought in Vietnam.

An estimated 1,500 soldiers currently are members of the Special Forces Group at Fort Campbell, according to spokesman Maj. Jim Whatley.

Following Friday's memorial dedication, retired Master Sgt. Armand J. Bolduc was presented with the St. Philip Neri Award, given to a Special Forces soldier who is a "selfless, superb teacher and inspirational leader," according to officials.

Bolduc retired after returning from Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. His detachment was responsible for the destruction of more than 50 enemy tanks and 1,500 Taliban fighters.

"I just thought I was doing my job," Bolduc said after he received his medal. "I still consider myself just a soldier."

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Old 05-22-2004, 17:56   #2
NousDefionsDoc
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Outstanding! Thanks Jen.

While I understand the sentiment, "ordinary people behaving in extraordinary ways." have to disagree. These men are and were anything but ordinary.


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Old 05-22-2004, 20:35   #3
Martinez
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Oh yeah, I agree! If you ask me, SF'ers can walk on water and all sorts of other amazing things

Jennifer Martinez sends
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