Sunday, June 11, 2006

Lawrence Joel- American Hero

First I'd like to thank Big Kenny & John Rich (Big & Rich) for their latest song 8th of November which is a true story of Niles Harris who was wounded on the 8th of Nov 1965 in Vietnam. The Video for this song starts w/ Kris Kristofferson narrating the story. He tells of Lawrence Joel, the first living black man to recieve the Medal of Honor since the Spanish American War. Lawrence Joel was a medic assigned to the 173rd Airborne on that fateful day. While conducting operations to support Operation Hump, the 173rd came under attack by a force of over 1200 Viet Cong forces who ambushed them. During the following 24 hours of battle SPC6 Joel distinguished himself as a medic, here is the citaion from his Medal of Honor.

Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty. Sp6c. Joel demonstrated indomitable courage, determination, and professional skill when a numerically superior and well-concealed Viet Cong element launched a vicious attack which wounded or killed nearly every man in the lead squad of the company. After treating the men wounded by the initial burst of gunfire, he bravely moved forward to assist others who were wounded while proceeding to their objective. While moving from man to man, he was struck in the right leg by machinegun fire. Although painfully wounded his desire to aid his fellow soldiers transcended all personal feeling. He bandaged his own wound and self-administered morphine to deaden the pain enabling him to continue his dangerous undertaking. Through this period of time, he constantly shouted words of encouragement to all around him. Then, completely ignoring the warnings of others, and his pain, he continued his search for wounded, exposing himself to hostile fire; and, as bullets dug up the dirt around him, he held plasma bottles high while kneeling completely engrossed in his life saving mission. Then, after being struck a second time and with a bullet lodged in his thigh, he dragged himself over the battlefield and succeeded in treating 13 more men before his medical supplies ran out. Displaying resourcefulness, he saved the life of 1 man by placing a plastic bag over a severe chest wound to congeal the blood. As 1 of the platoons pursued the Viet Cong, an insurgent force in concealed positions opened fire on the platoon and wounded many more soldiers. With a new stock of medical supplies, Sp6c. Joel again shouted words of encouragement as he crawled through an intense hail of gunfire to the wounded men. After the 24 hour battle subsided and the Viet Cong dead numbered 410, snipers continued to harass the company. Throughout the long battle, Sp6c. Joel never lost sight of his mission as a medical aidman and continued to comfort and treat the wounded until his own evacuation was ordered. His meticulous attention to duty saved a large number of lives and his unselfish, daring example under most adverse conditions was an inspiration to all. Sp6c. Joel's profound concern for his fellow soldiers, at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty are in the highest traditions of the U.S. Army and reflect great credit upon himself and the Armed Forces of his country.

As you can see SPC Joel is a true american hero.

Elijah Allen @ Contact Right Taking Fire details his meeting Niles Harris & Big Kenny from Big & Rich @ the Memorial Day Concert & After Party in DC.

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