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Posted: 9/10/2010 9:21:30 AM EDT
9/3/2010 - WASHINGTON (AFNS) –– An Air Force senior NCO who was killed 42 years ago will receive the Medal of Honor for actions he took after enemy forces overran a clandestine U.S. radar site in Laos.

Chief Master Sgt. Richard L. "Dick" Etchberger, 35, died March 11, 1968, after being shot following an overnight battle on Mount Phou Pha Thi at Lima Site 85, as the radar location was known to Americans, where he helped maintain equipment that aided the U.S. bombing campaign of North Vietnam.

Despite having received little or no combat training, Chief Etchberger single-handedly held off the enemy with an M-16, while simultaneously directing air strikes into the area and calling for air rescue. Because of his fierce defense and heroic and selfless actions, he was able to deny the enemy access to his position and save the lives of some of his crew.

With the arrival of the rescue aircraft, Chief Etchberger, without hesitation, once again deliberately risked his own life numerous times, exposing himself to heavy enemy fire in order to place his three surviving wounded comrades into rescue slings hanging from the hovering helicopter waiting to airlift them to safety.

With his remaining crew safely aboard, Chief Etchberger finally climbed into an evacuation sling himself, only to be fatally wounded by enemy ground fire as he was being raised into the aircraft.

"He should have a 55-gallon drum full of medals," said retired Tech Sgt. John G. Daniel, 71, of La Junta, Colo. Sergeant Daniel was one of the three rescued. "I wouldn't be alive without him."

Following a 2008 personnel board of review of the chief's actions, Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley nominated the Hamburg, Pa., native for the U.S. military's highest decoration, which is awarded "for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty."

President Obama approved the Medal of Honor, which will be presented in a White House ceremony on Sept. 21. The following day, an induction ceremony of Chief Etchberger into The Hall of Heroes will take place in the Pentagon.





I'm reading a book about Site 85 and the entire story behind this man's accomplishments right now. It's called "One Day Too Long". One of my co-workers is the son of one of the Technicians killed at site 85.

http://www.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123220671
Link Posted: 9/10/2010 9:24:07 AM EDT
RIP.
Link Posted: 9/10/2010 9:26:57 AM EDT
With his remaining crew safely aboard, Chief Etchberger finally climbed into an evacuation sling himself, only to be fatally wounded by enemy ground fire as he was being raised into the aircraft.


Damn.
Link Posted: 9/10/2010 9:27:26 AM EDT
RIP Chief Etchberger






















absent companions...
Link Posted: 9/10/2010 9:33:20 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/10/2010 9:43:43 AM EDT by WarWeapon762]
My father was in the same vicinity (1st MOB) but I think he was withdrawn from the area before it became a complete hell hole.

RIP Chief Etchberger
Link Posted: 9/10/2010 9:33:38 AM EDT
What is the name fo the book you are reading? I would like to get it.
Link Posted: 9/10/2010 9:34:40 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/10/2010 9:35:44 AM EDT by Chairborne]

Originally Posted By Jame_Retief:
What is the name fo the book you are reading? I would like to get it.

One Day Too Long

http://www.amazon.com/One-Day-Long-Timothy-Castle/dp/0231103166

ETA: I believe it is out of print, my buddy loaned me a copy. He is always picking them up when he sees them for a good price.
Link Posted: 9/10/2010 9:42:37 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/10/2010 9:44:01 AM EDT by Miles_Urbanus]
It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived.

- Gen. George S. Patton Jr.

RIP Chief Master Sergeant.

Link Posted: 9/10/2010 10:09:34 AM EDT
Link Posted: 9/10/2010 10:22:17 AM EDT
RIP Chief


good to see he's finally getting the MOH
Link Posted: 9/10/2010 10:26:34 AM EDT
RIP Chief

Link Posted: 9/10/2010 11:45:56 AM EDT
Now that's a M-Fing Chief.

Nowadays there are too many that brown nosed their way to the top, and don't know their ass from a hole in the ground.
Link Posted: 9/10/2010 12:54:36 PM EDT
WHy does it take so long? It should have been awarded long ago.
Link Posted: 9/10/2010 1:32:49 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Depidy_Dawg:
RIP Chief



Agreed.
Link Posted: 9/10/2010 1:40:17 PM EDT
Originally Posted By NAM:
Now that's a M-Fing Chief.

Nowadays there are too many that brown nosed their way to the top, and don't know their ass from a hole in the ground.


fast burner too, made Chief in less than 17 yrs
Link Posted: 9/10/2010 1:50:00 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/12/2010 9:57:48 AM EDT by Moose]
Originally Posted By NAM:
Now that's a M-Fing Chief.


Amen to that!
RIP, Chief.


Originally Posted By grayparatrooper:
WHy does it take so long? It should have been awarded long ago.


Think that's bad?
Corporal Andrew Jackson Smith was awarded a MoH in 2001 by President Clinton.
For his actions during the Battle of Honey Hill....against Confederate forces....

Posted Via AR15.Com Mobile
Link Posted: 9/10/2010 2:07:06 PM EDT
Link Posted: 9/10/2010 2:28:12 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/10/2010 2:38:32 PM EDT by Moose]
Wow.

I just read his Wiki entry and saw that his family didn't even know the nature of his death. Due to the classified nature of the radar site, they were told he was killed in a helicopter accident. They didn't find out the truth for fourteen years.

ETA: Thanks for posting the info, Chairborne...I'm going to try to find the book now.
Link Posted: 9/10/2010 2:33:02 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Moose:
Wow.

I just read his Wiki entry and saw that his family didn't even know the nature of his death. Due to the classified nature of the radar site, they were told he was killed in a helicopter accident. They didn't find out the truth for fourteen years.

Site 85 was some seriously classified business at the time it was operational. All of the Air Force members who worked at the site were honorably discharged from the USAF, and were there in civilian clothes working for Lockheed officially. The site was in Laos and that was very politically sensitive at the time. The servicemembers serving there were given guarantees that if anything happened to them they would be reinstated in the military and their families would receive normal military survivor benefits. For once they actually carried through with their promises and my buddy's family was taken care of properly.
Link Posted: 9/10/2010 2:36:20 PM EDT

Originally Posted By NAM:
Now that's a M-Fing Chief.

Nowadays there are too many that brown nosed their way to the top, and don't know their ass from a hole in the ground.

QFT

Did anyone else notice that he was 35 years old?

RIP, Chief.
Link Posted: 9/10/2010 2:45:17 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/10/2010 2:46:20 PM EDT by Chairborne]

Originally Posted By JS98010:

Originally Posted By NAM:
Now that's a M-Fing Chief.

Nowadays there are too many that brown nosed their way to the top, and don't know their ass from a hole in the ground.

QFT

Did anyone else notice that he was 35 years old?

RIP, Chief.

Times have changed. I knew several 14 year Chiefs early on in my career. They made it when it was two test cycles a year and no "speedbump" TIG criteria that stops you from testing for 2-2.5 years after every stripe. In the late 60s/early 70s E-8 and E-9 were still pretty new, and most E-7s who were around at the time the "supergrades" were formed had an instantaneous (or close to it) promotion by one or two grades. I worked with a MSgt early in my career whose father was a B-17 gunner in WWII. He showed me his discharge papers, total TIS - 3 years 11 months, pay grade - E-7.
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