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Biden Awards Medal Of Honor To 4 Vietnam War Vets For ‘Incredible Heroism’

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WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden on Tuesday bestowed the nation’s highest military honor to 4 Army soldiers for heroism in the course of the Vietnam War, bravery that he said had not diminished even with the passage of time.

Biden presented the Medal of Honor to Staff Sgt. Edward N. Kaneshiro, Spc. Five Dwight W. Birdwell, Spc. Five Dennis M. Fujii, and retired Maj. John J. Duffy. Speaking at a ceremony within the White House East Room, Biden praised their heroism, noting that many like them don’t receive “the complete recognition they deserve.”

“Today, we’re setting the record straight. We’re upgrading the awards of 4 soldiers who performed acts of incredible heroism in the course of the Vietnam conflict,” Biden said.

“It’s just astounding while you hear what each of them have done,” he said. “They went far above and beyond the decision of duty. It’s a phrase at all times used but … it takes on life while you see these men.”

Addressing the three living soldiers and relatives of Kaneshiro, who’s deceased, the president said, “I’m proud to finally award our highest military recognition, the Medal of Honor, to every of you.”

President Biden presents the Medal of Honor to Staff Sgt. Edward Kaneshiro for his actions on Dec. 1, 1966. Kaneshiro’s son John accepted the posthumous recognition during a ceremony within the East Room of the White House on Tuesday.

Evan Vucci via Associated Press

Biden noted that greater than 50 years had passed “because the jungles of Vietnam where, as young men, these soldiers first proved their mettle. But time has not diminished their astonishing bravery, their selflessness in putting the lives of others ahead of their very own and the gratitude that we as a nation owe them.”

Kaneshiro, killed in motion by hostile gunfire in Vietnam in 1967, received his honor posthumously for a Dec. 1, 1966 raid where his unit got here under fire by North Vietnamese troops. His actions were credited with helping his unit withdraw from the village where they were fighting. Kaneshiro was born and raised in Hawaii, a son of Japanese immigrants.

Spc. Dwight Birdwell received the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions on Jan. 31, 1968, despite injuries to his torso and face.Spc. Dwight Birdwell received the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions on Jan. 31, 1968, despite injuries to his torso and face.

Evan Vucci via Associated Press

Birdwell was honored for actions helping to move off an assault and evacuate wounded at Tan Son Nhut Airbase near Saigon on Jan. 31, 1968, despite injuries to his torso and face, during a gap salvo in what’s often known as the Tet Offensive, an especially bloody period of the war.

Birdwell, a member of the Cherokee Nation and a lawyer in Oklahoma City, had received a Silver Star for his actions. Biden said it took Birdwell’s commanding officer a long time to appreciate that Birdwell had not received the right recognition and took steps, even in retirement, to “make at the present time possible.”

“In the end, long last, your story is being honored because it must have been at all times,” Biden told Birdwell.

Spc. Dennis Fujii received a Medal of Honor for treating wounded and directing air strikes against enemy positions during the Vietnam War.Spc. Dennis Fujii received a Medal of Honor for treating wounded and directing air strikes against enemy positions in the course of the Vietnam War.

Evan Vucci via Associated Press

Fujii received a Medal of Honor for actions over 4 days in February 1971 treating wounded and directing air strikes against enemy positions after his air ambulance was forced to crash land.

Duffy was recognized for leading troops who got here under ambush after their commander was killed in motion, repelling attackers and evacuating wounded, despite his own injuries. Duffy went on to change into an writer and once was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for poetry.

“He’s the definition of a warrior poet,” Biden said.

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