JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. - Lt. Col. Johnny
Vandiver, the 7th Infantry Division's senior physician
assistant and chief of clinical operations, was awarded the
Legion of Merit on July 26, 2013 in honor of his many
accomplishments in his 30 years of service.
Lt. Col. Johnny Vandiver, the 7th Infantry Division's senior physician assistant and chief of clinical operations, was awarded the Legion of Merit
on July 26, 2013 in honor of his many accomplishments during his 30 years of service.
of Athens, Texas, began his army career in 1983, serving as
an enlisted combat medic. While a staff sergeant, Vandiver
was accepted to the Interservice Physician Assistant
Program, and received commission as a second lieutenant in
the Medical Specialist Corps in 1991.
He served two
tours in Iraq, supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom from 2003
to 2004 and again from 2008 to 2009. During his deployment
in 2003, he established the casualty tracking and liaison
systems that were used in Multinational Division-Baghdad for
the remainder of the United States' presence in Iraq.
Vandiver served in support of Operation Enduring Freedom
from 2011 to 2012.
"He was the driving force behind
the establishment of the Afghan Army Physician Assistant
School" and his work in analyzing and refining the Afghan
National Security Forces Tashkil "ensured the development of
a capable and sustainable medical support structure for the
Afghan National Army and Afghan National Police," according
to the award's citation.
Vandiver will retire in
Fairbanks, Alaska, where his wife and two sons currently
The Legion of Merit, the first United States
decoration created specifically for award to citizens of
other nations, was established by an Act of Congress of July
20, 1942, amended by an executive order of March 15, 1955.
The reverse of the medal has the motto taken from the Great
Seal of the United States “ANNUIT COEPTIS” (He [God] Has
Favored Our Undertakings) and the date “MDCCLXXXII” (1782)
which is the date of America's first decoration, the Badge
of Military Merit, now known as the Purple Heart.
design also follows the pattern of the Purple Heart ribbon.
Taking into account all service medals soldiers are
authorized to wear, per AR 670-1, the Legion of Merit ranks
as the ninth highest award, worn after the Defense Superior
Service Medal and before the Distinguished Flying Cross.
By U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Lindsey Kibler
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