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Posted: 10/3/2011 2:15:24 AM EST
In the course of my job, I was called to do an inspection of a house nearby. When I arrived, I was greeted by an older, but in much better shape than me , man wearing a black USMC. We made small talk for a bit and I got to work. After my inspection we talked a bit more. I thanked him for his service to this great nation and reminded him that there are far more people that are appreciative of our fighting men and women than not. He agreed, but it seemed of late that there were fewer and fewer of us.

When I got home, I looked up his name and holy cow, this guy is a true hero. Amongst his many medals, honors and decorations, I found the following:

CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. –– Col. Kenneth L. Christy Jr.,
communications officer, Headquarters and Service Battalion here,
was awarded the nation's second highest military decoration, the
Navy Cross, Mar. 25.
Christy was recognized for acts of extraordinary heroism while
serving in the Republic of Vietnam more than 26 years ago.
The heroic act occurred Jan. 18, 1968, in Northern I Corps'
Quang Tri Province. It was Christy's fourth month in country as
3rd Platoon commander, Company L, 3rd Bn., 4th Marines. The
company was conducting a search and destroy operation in an area
northeast of Con Thien when it encountered a large enemy force
which had crossed the demilitarized zone heading south.
As a brutal firefight broke out, the company was able to form
a confined defensive position. The point platoon, however, was
trapped in the enemy's crossfire 100 meters forward. Destruction
was imminent for the trapped platoon as the estimated battalion-
sized enemy force moved in.
Christy's platoon was tasked with retrieving the crippled
point platoon. Christy and his Marines were very familiar with the
terrain, having conducted a patrol through the area two days
As automatic weapons fire, mortars and rocket propelled
grenades ripped through the air from positions concealed in the
thick vegetation, 3rd Platoon had to maneuver through exposed
terrain to reach its objective.
When he reached the pinned-down platoon Christy determined
about 27 of the men were dead or wounded. He quickly began
directing their evacuation to the company's position.
As the Marines began to evacuate the wounded, Christy found
four seriously wounded men lying in an exposed position. He
reacted quickly, exposing himself to enemy fire by shielding LCpl.
Michael Madden, an artillery forward observer attached to the
company, with his own body and administering first aid.
The enemy fire grew more intense as the last Marines headed
for the company's position. Grenades and small arms fire impacted
all around Christy as he grabbed the body of the man he later
learned was the point platoon commander. When he lifted the Marine
on his shoulders, Christy saw a machine gun on the ground. He
picked up the gun, leveled the barrel and held the trigger until
the ammunition belt was spent. Then the covering fire and
artillery kept the enemy's heads down until the last Marines pulled
When he reached the company's position, the commander told
Christy to prepare his Marines to move again. The badly damaged
company was about to pull back to another position.
Within moments, the company commander was hit, leaving Christy
in charge. The battalion commander, LtCol. Lee Bendell, contacted
him and asked if the company could move. Christy had too many
casualties to attempt a move under such intense fire, but relayed
that he could reorganize his defenses and provide security for what
was left of the company. However, this meant they would need help
quickly since the men were low on ammunition and the seriously
wounded needed medical care.
As Christy reorganized, Company M, 3rd Bn., 4th Marines, with
the battalion commander, headed for the fight.
When a helicopter broke the treeline to evacuate the wounded
it drew a torrent of enemy fire. "I thought I had seen some
intense fire before," said Christy, "but it seemed that every North
Vietnamese soldier in that province who owned an automatic weapon
was shooting at that helicopter.
"We threw all the wounded we could onto the bird before it
took too many rounds. As it left, I saw blue smoke coming from the
exhaust –– the hydraulics had been hit."
The Marines were able to get four of their wounded on the
helicopter, including the company commander and Madden, who was
blinded by a head wound. The co-pilot, one door gunner and the
senior medical crewmember were killed or badly wounded by enemy
fire. The helicopter later crash-landed in an American-controlled
landing zone because of the damaged hydraulics.
Christy suffered additional wounds in the battle's first
moments, catching RPG and mortar fragments on two separate
occasions (he was still wearing bandages which covered a gunshot
wound he received less than two weeks before). At the battle's
end, he did what many other Marines did; remembered what he learned
that day and moved to the next mission. The humble officer never
spoke of his ordeal and left the past in the past.
Then one Friday evening in late 1986 when Christy was a
battalion commander at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island,
S.C., Christy received a phone call from Michael Madden, a Marine
whose life he had saved during that terrible firefight in 1968.
During the conversation, Madden asked Christy if he had
received the medal he had recommended for him. Christy told him he
hadn't, nor was he seeking one.
"What I did for you I would have done for any Marine," Christy
told him. But Madden wouldn't accept that answer. Christy had
saved his life, and Madden was determined to see him recognized for
his bravery.
Madden researched and submitted information time after time in
an effort to see Christy recognized. What seemed to be the largest
obstacle was the requirement of an officer in the Marine's chain of
command who had witnessed the events to submit a statement
detailing the Marine's act. This final condition was met by
MGySgt. Jim Day, then a first lieutenant, who was the company's
executive officer (forward). Between what he had witnessed and
heard while monitoring the battalion's communications, Day was able
to fit the puzzle's final piece into place.
To Christy, the medal he finally received doesn't represent
his specific actions, but rather the brotherhood all Marines shared
in Vietnam.
"When I was on the plane going to Vietnam, I had a lot of time
to sit and hold council with myself," Christy said. "I didn't know
if I was going to be able to do the job, but the training I had
received prepared me for it. Because of that training, when
something happened I immediately reacted to the situation. I
didn't think about the moment; I didn't even think about the next
step. My mind was already three steps down and calculating that
Christy also credits the "top-quality Marines" he served with
on the battlegrounds.
"The Marines there did a superb job. ... If something
unexpected happened, they had the experience and ability to adapt
and overcome."
The citation reads that 2ndLt. Christy reflected great credit
upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps
and the United States Naval Service, but Christy is quick to place
the honor on every Marine who proudly served in Vietnam.

Let us not forget the brave men and women amongst us who served proudly and live humbly.
Link Posted: 10/3/2011 2:24:59 AM EST
Damn, that is impressive.
Link Posted: 10/3/2011 2:28:36 AM EST
Originally Posted By BuffLuver:
Damn, that is impressive.

I know. I have to meet with him next week and I know the look of awe and respect will be written all over my face.
Link Posted: 10/3/2011 4:10:31 AM EST
Please pass along the respect and admirartion of those of us on arfcom.
Link Posted: 10/3/2011 4:15:18 AM EST
Originally Posted By 1911lover:
Please pass along the respect and admirartion of those of us on arfcom.

Exactly what this man said!!
Link Posted: 10/3/2011 4:24:29 AM EST
That's incredible. Please give him our regards.
Link Posted: 10/3/2011 4:35:25 AM EST
Holy crap! Sounds like you met a really fine gentleman too.

Tell him thanks for his service from me.
Link Posted: 10/3/2011 4:36:17 AM EST
Originally Posted By 1911lover:
Please pass along the respect and admirartion of those of us on arfcom.

This! +1
Link Posted: 10/3/2011 6:53:14 AM EST
With utmost respect....

Link Posted: 10/3/2011 7:15:12 AM EST

Originally Posted By 1911lover:
Please pass along the respect and admirartion of those of us on arfcom.

Let him know Dan O in Wisconsin would gladly buy him a dinner and drinks if he ever steps foot in my state.

Please pass along my utmost thanks and respect for what he did. I can't say enough how lucky we as a country are to have men such as him in our arsenal.
Link Posted: 10/3/2011 7:17:33 AM EST
Originally Posted By 1911lover:
Please pass along the respect and admirartion of those of us on arfcom.

Yes , please do .
Link Posted: 10/3/2011 7:37:49 AM EST
Awesome! He sounds like a great guy.

To you guys with tanks: I have a question about the officer that wrote the after-action report. The newspaper article identifies him as "MGySgt. Jim Day (then a first lieutenant)". How would Day have gone from 1LT to MGySgt? Retire the commission the re-enlist? Just curious.
Link Posted: 10/3/2011 8:19:40 AM EST
A hero, indeed!
Link Posted: 10/3/2011 9:03:50 AM EST
WOw what a great read.
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