Soldier Gets Silver Star 45 Years After Wartime Action
(November 9, 2009)
Retired Lt. Gen. John Cushman pins the Silver Star
on retired Brig. Gen. John W. Nicholson on Fort Myer, Va., Oct. 28,
as Brig. Gen. Karl R. Horst, commanding general, Joint Force
Headquarters-National Capital Region and Military District of
Washington looks on.
WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Oct. 30, 2009) -- An award
more than 45 years in the making was finally received Oct.
28, as retired Brig. Gen. John W. Nicholson was awarded the
Silver Star for actions in Vietnam.
On Dec. 27, 1963, then Maj. Nicholson was serving as an
advisor to the Army of the Republic of Vietnam Civil Guard
and Self-Defense Force. During an eight-hour battle, their
force was reduced from 200 to 40, and Nicholson directed
friendly fire and mortar fire to help evacuate 13 wounded
Soldiers through enemy territory.
During a ceremony at Fort Myer's Conmy Hall, Nicholson
received the Silver Star for those actions. An audience of
more than 100 family members, friends and classmates
from West Point attended.
Retired Lt. Gen. John Cushman, who lobbied for Nicholson to receive the
award after researching his actions that December day pinned the gold medal
on Nicholson. He spoke of finding out about the events of Dec. 27, 1963, and
recommending Nicholson for the Silver Star, only to find out years later
that it never went through.|
When it was approved in July, Cushman felt Nicholson was finally receiving
his due honor.
"In the 234 years of the proud history of the United States Army, countless
acts of conspicuous heroism on the battlefield have gone unrewarded. While
justice can never be achieved for them all, we can all be proud at this
recognition of General Nicholson for his heroic actions of long ago,"
Cushman said. "It is a great pleasure to take part in this well-deserved and
While the focus of the ceremony was on Nicholson's achievements in the past,
he made sure to mention the work that Soldiers are doing in today's Army,
work that he is proud of.
"We have an Army today that not only consists of these splendid Soldiers you
see in front of you, but of Soldiers around the world doing our country's
bidding, doing what their country asked them to do," Nicholson said. "Doing
it better than we did, and doing it better than any Army in the world."
Nicholson served three total tours in Vietnam and went on to serve in the
Army for 30 years. Nicholson was stationed in Germany, Korea, at the
Pentagon and as commanding general of the U.S. Army Training Support Center
at Fort Eustis, Va. He was officially awarded the Silver Star in July, by
President Barack Obama and then Secretary of the Army Pete Geren.
The Silver Star is awarded to a person who, "while serving in any capacity
with the U.S. Army, is cited for gallantry in action against an enemy of the
United States while engaged in military operations involving conflict with
an opposing foreign force."
Article by Alex McVeigh
Pentagram at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall
Photo by Eleena Fikhman
Army News Service
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