"The Vietnam War, A Family, and the Hero We Never Knew"

The Vietnam War, A Family, and the Hero We Never Knew


1. TC 320. The following AWARD is announced.

TALBOTT, William J., COLONEL, USA, 937th (Combat) Engineer Group


"For heroism...in connection with military operations... in the Republic of Vietnam.

Colonel Talbott distinguished by exceptionally valorous actions on numerous occasions during his tenure in the Republic of Vietnam.

As the commander of a combat engineer group...when an element of his command came under attack, he immediately moved to the combat area, and completely disregarded his personal safety, in order to look after the welfare of his men.

On 10 March and 4 April, 1968, during fierce attacks by a sizable enemy force, Colonel Talbott braved enemy sniper fire and went immediately to the scene of the action.

He directed the defense with heroic leadership... to such a degree that he is due much of the credit for the victories.

Colonel Talbott's personal courage, devotion to duty, and concern for his subordinates... are worthy of the highest esteem and reflect distinct credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.

Authority: By direction of the President under the provisions of Executive Order..."

Thinking of my father-in-law, Colonel Bill Talbott, his service in combat in three wars: the Battle of the Bulge, The Siegfreid Line, Bridge at Remagen, and liberation of death camps, in WWII; combat service in Korea; and finally, Vietnam.

This was his third BRONZE STAR for valor, bravery, and meritorious service in each of the wars.

Especially in light of the new Ken Burns documentary series on Vietnam, where he served right before and after the Tet offensive in 1968.

He received over twenty (20) decorations in all for his service - most of them bronze stars, legion of merit and many "battle stars" for the various campaigns he served in in combat in three wars - our local congressman said it was the most awards they had ever received for a veteran!

We, of course knew none of this, until just before he passed away in 2007 at the age of 87; because like many combat vets of his day, he didn't talk about it, and when he did he said "...the real heroes are the ones we left buried over there..."

He was a very special person - even after his service in Vietnam, when he was serving at the Pentagon, and his daughter Madeline came down with many of her friends for a protest AGAINST the War; he woke up early, made them breakfast, and then gave them his parking pass for the Pentagon parking lot, which allowed Madeline and her friends to get closer to the action at the Pentagon!

Pretty amazing.

One of the many reasons he was such a special person and a Hero we never knew.


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