Medal of Honor Recipients Visit Soldiers In Baghdad
(April 18, 2009)
Medal of Honor recipients retired Army Command Sgt. Maj. Gary Littrell, left, and retired Army Col. Robert Howard, center, sign and hand out copies of their award citations to soldiers serving in Multinational Division Baghdad with the 1st Infantry Division's 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team on Camp Liberty, Iraq, April 14, 2009.
BAGHDAD, April 15, 2009 – Two Vietnam War veterans who survived combat and who
received the Medal of Honor visited soldiers serving in Multinational Division
Baghdad here with the 1st Infantry Division's 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team at
Warrior Chapel on Camp Liberty yesterday.
Retired Army Col. Robert Howard and retired Army Command Sgt. Maj. Gary Littrell
spoke to the “Dagger Brigade” soldiers about keeping morale high while
maintaining a sense of urgency, and they took the opportunity to answer
questions from the soldiers.
“We try to visit soldiers here and in Afghanistan every April,” said Littrell,
who spent four days on a hill in Vietnam fighting enemy mortar and small-arms
fire. “It's very important that we visit the men and women who are preserving
the same freedom we preserved many years ago.”
Littrell and Howard -- who also earned the Distinguished Service Cross, Silver
Star and eight Purple Hearts for his actions in Vietnam -- gave words of
encouragement and advice during their visit. |
“Many of you have family at home, and because of the technology today, keep them
informed and tell them how you are doing,” Howard said. “This is good for
everyone's morale, and it will help you focus on the mission.”
The two recipients of the nation's highest award for conspicuous gallantry in
battle took turns speaking to the troops, emphasizing that commitment to mission
accomplishment is what motivates leaders to get the job done.
“After reading my citation, I felt that I did deserve the Medal of Honor,”
Littrell said. “At the time, all I was thinking was I was a noncommissioned
officer in the United States Army with a job to do and soldiers to take care
Littrell told the soldiers that if they were placed in the same predicament,
they would have the same level of integrity and courage to put total effort into
the fight, no matter how long it took.
“You are fine young men and women who have outstanding tools and leadership,” he
said. “We are behind you all the way, and as long as we are able to make the
trip, we will continue to visit the servicemembers in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
When the time came for soldiers to ask the veterans questions, Army Staff Sgt.
Andres Redondo, a native of Overland Park, Kan., asked how they stayed motivated
and motivated their soldiers during the time they spent thousands of miles away
from their families.
“We had no choice but to stay motivated as leaders,” Howard said. “As for our
soldiers, we reminded them that God and country came before our needs.”
Littrell added that today's Army has more resources in quality of life, weapons
systems and medical care to meet the needs of soldiers than were available in
the Vietnam War era.
Greenville, N.C., native Army Command Sgt. Maj. Donald Battle, the brigade's
senior enlisted advisor, introduced the soldiers' guests and thanked them for
sharing their knowledge and support with the Dagger soldiers.
“It's because of Americans like Colonel Howard and Command Sergeant Major
Littrell that we can still serve in America's Army,” Battle said. “They are
heroes, and we owe them great respect and thanks for coming to visit us.”
Army Sgt. Dustin Roberts
1st Infantry Division's 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team /
Multinational Division Baghdad
Special to American Forces Press Service
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