My personal story of why those who have served mean so much to me
This veteran’s day I wanted to share a very personal story with all of you. It is about the two men pictured above one of which is my father. These were two young men among many who served in Vietnam. The operation that led to the following events occurred 1/20/1967. On that fateful day, the acts of valor & courage committed would have repercussions far beyond what either man could see at the time. Lt. Jack Burr the platoon leader of 3rd platoon. A Co 1/35 Inf Bn was leading his men on patrol when they were ambushed by the enemy. During a three hour firefight that resembled a scene out of Platoon, Pace Caldwell was shot 4 times once in the calf, once in each thigh & once in the abdomen. Pinned down by gunfire Lt. Burr and his men could not reach their fallen comrade. Lt. Burr charged some 15-20 yards to pull Pace Caldwell to safety. Aided by artillery the men of the 1/35th repelled the enemy attack. Though the battle was over the fight to save Pace Caldwell’s life had just begun. Lt. Burr’s commander ordered him and his men to hump some 3-4 miles back to an LZ. The Lt. asked Pace ” you think you can make that” Pace replied, ” I don’t know my stomach is burning pretty bad “. They were too far from base to transport him back and the forest limited the ability for aircraft to evacuate him. Without quick and decisive action the fallen soldiers would not live. Lt. Burr quickly got on the radio with an artillery unit miles away. He was able to coordinate with that unit for the deployment of a helicopter to come rescue Pace, 2 KIAs and two other injured soldiers. The aircraft was not able to land so a cable was lowered some 150 plus feet to pluck Pace and the others off of the jungle floor. Pace Caldwell made it to a medical unit in time and is still alive to this day. He had a bullet lodged next to his kidney so the 3-mile march back to the L.Z. would have killed him. In his own words “The Lt. saved my life twice that day.”
This story is personal to me because I was born a little over a year later on Nov 10, 1968. Without the dedication of Lt. Burr to his duty and his men, not only would Pace have died that day, but so would have the future of his offspring (ME). I can never repay Lt. Burr and his brave men for the gift of life they have given me. It is for them their comrades both living and dead and for the 760,000 plus of my fellow citizens in the 6th C.D. that I offer my service as a representative in Congress. I may not be able to repay them directly, but I can honor them by promising them and you that I will never dishonor their service and sacrifice by becoming just another member of the corrupt, dishonest establishment that controls our system of Gov. I instead will fight to my last breath against those who deny us our liberties & subvert the founding principles of our country and the Constitution .
In keeping with the great traditions, these men fought to preserve I vow to do all I can to reflect great credit upon them & to deserve the great honor these men have bestowed upon me. Veterans day and memorial day come not once a year for me. For me, they are every day. Without these men, none of those days would exist for me.
I will never give up, I will never give in, I will never back down
I will never forget!
SGT Kevin T Caldwell U.S. Army