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Posthumous Medal of Honor

This is a story that has been 42 years in the making.  One might say that it is 42 years late, but then, it is never too late for the right thing to be done.   

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The Medal of Honor is the nation's highest reward for bravery in military service. They are not given out liberally.  They are given only to those whose actions demonstrated superior courage under fire.  It also recognizes the willingness of the recipient to sacrifice everything for the good of his brothers-in-arms.

On May 10, 1970, Mothers Day, 42 years ago, in the jungles of Cambodia, 22 year old Army Spc. Leslie Sabo was with his platoon in hot pursuit of North Vietnamese forces.  At one point they were ambushed by a much larger number of enemy troops.  Spc. Sabo turned into the attack and charged the advancing enemy, killing several of the North Vietnamese soldiers.  Another force of enemy troops began to attack from a different direction and Spc. Sabo repeated his earlier actions.  Incredibly, this caused the North Vietnamese to retreat.

In the aftermath, Spc. Sabo was re-supplying ammunition to his platoon when a grenade fell among them.  He picked it up and threw it and placed himself between the grenade and one of his fellow platoon members.  He then charged the enemy emplacement, throwing another grenade which silenced that position and ended his own life.  

For 42 years the only ones who knew of Spc. Leslie Sabo's heroics were his fellow platoon members and his family.  Mary Rose Sabo-Brown was a young woman back then too.  She was newly married when she received the terrible news about her young husband's death.  She had to bear that memory during those difficult anti-war years, as did the rest of her fellow Vietnam era families and veterans, silently, without recognition.  This has been rectified.  His heroic actions were lost in military archives for decades until a magazine writer, researching Vietnam era Medal of Honor winners in 1999 for a magazine article, rediscovered them. 

On May 16, 2012 President Obama presented the Medal of Honor to Sabo's widow.  Rose Mary Sabo-Brown in her remarks after receiving the medal said. "  A piece of metal won't bring back my husband, but my heart beams with pride for Leslie because he's finally getting what's due to him.  I will show it proudly for him for the rest of my life."

Mary Rose, you have that right to be proud of Leslie.  We, too, share your pride and your sorrow.  We wish to add our praise and thanks to you in his honor.  His loss was great to you and to his fellow platoon members.  We thank him for his service to us all.

We can say thank you for Spc. Leslie Sabo's sacrifice by thanking a veteran when we see them, or you can click on the "Click Here to Donate: It's free" button here on theveteranssite.com and help us feed homeless veterans.  Let us all take pride in this soldier's sacrifice for his fellow platoon members and let us remember the sacrifice that his young wife had to make at the same time. 
 

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