Vietnam veteran honored with medal

Tuesday, December 9, 2014
Lt. Col. Steve Gray (ret.) presented Manila veteran Jerry McCain with the Purple Heart. McCain, a Vietnam veteran, was injured during his service in 1966.

A patriotic theme was used for the 2014 Manila Christmas parade, followed by the third annual Christmas Show. Prior to the start of the Christmas Show, a special presentation was made to Manila veteran Jerry McCain offering a continuation of the patriotic theme.

McCain, who was wounded serving in Vietnam, was among the many that returned home but never received the recognition they deserved. McCain also did not receive the medals he had earned. He was awarded the Purple Heart; National Defense Service; and Vietnam Service Medals; the Combat Infantryman Badge; Vietnam Campaign Ribbon; and Parachute Badge.

McCain served in the Army during the Vietnam War with the 187th Regiment. During an operation to eradicate an enemy Vietcong headquarters near Bong Son, McCain was wounded. He continued to serve another year and a half after his recovery.

The Herman Davis American Legion Post 197 honored R.A. Davidson with a monument/plaque for his dedicated 58 years of service. Pictured with Mr. Davidson is Michael Bunch.

Lt. Col. Steve Gray (ret.), Senator John Boozman's staff, was in Manila to make the presentation and read a letter from Senator Boozman.

Lt. Col. Gray called it an honor to present the award to McCain.

McCain entered the Army on Oct. 30, 1964, and graduated from basic and infantry training at Fort Polk, La., followed by airborne school at Fort Benning, Ga. He then was assigned to the 187th Infantry Regiment and later sent to Vietnam to join the 1st Cavalry Division stationed at An Khe not far from Pleiku in the Central Highlands. Camp Radcliff had been built there in memory of the unit's first casualty and could house over 400 helicopters and land C-130s.

This is an excerpt from the letter from Senator Boozman:

"On Feb. 21, 1966, the interrogation of a Vietcong prisoner revealed that 22nd Regimental Headquarters was not far from Bong Song. It had been giving the GIs fits and now it was time to take it out. With the help of B-52 bombers you and your men moved in and during a heavy crossfire two days into the battle you were hit in the shoulder and leg and was subsequently brought back to the states to Fort Campbell, Kentucky Hospital. You would remain in the Army another year and a half finishing up with the 505th Infantry Regiment at Fort Brag, N.C. And so, today we wish to bestow this symbol of a grateful nation. It was an honor aiding you in being awarded the Purple Heart Medal."

Lt. Col. Gray presented McCain with the Purple Heart.

McCain expressed his appreciation to Lt. Col. Gray, Edd Camron, who helps veterans with claims, and Missy Lambert for their assistance through the process.

Herman Davis Post 197 Commander Grady Willmuth, thanked the guests and McCain for his service.

Following McCain's ceremony, Willmuth, on behalf of Post 197, made a presentation to R.A. Davidson for his dedicated years of service to the American Legion.

Mr. Davidson served in the Navy during the Korean conflict. He has been a member of the American Legion Post 197 for 58 years.

A monument/plaque was created in his honor and will be displayed at the American Legion Hut Post 197.

Mr. Davidson served in the Navy from 1950 until 1954; was Mississippi County Commander from 1977 until 1978; District Commander from 1980 until 1981; Post Commander from 2008-2011.

The monument features his picture, name and service. The words engraved are: "He has given outstanding service to his country and community."

"We thank you, Mr. Davidson," Willmuth said.

Both McCain and Davidson received standing ovations from the crowd.

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