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I am a combat veteran of the Vietnam War having served as a Special Purpose Vehicle Mechanic working on Air Force crash fire trucks & crash rescue trucks repairing and maintaining these trucks as needed during the daytime. For my first two months at Binh-Thuy AB, I also served as a U.S. Air Force Security Police Augmentee at night helping out the regular Security Police who had manned our own defensive positions that were spaced out around our perimeter at our very, very small and remote Vietnamese air base called Binh-Thuy down in the heart of the Mekong Delta or Indian country as some of us called it. We would man one of the defensive bunkers with either an M-60 machine gun or just our M-16 automatic rifles during the night to guard against any VC attempts to sneak onto our air base so that they could plant their own deadly explosive charges onto the aircraft or helicopters which were assigned at our base. We had some guard towers that were along the perimeter that were spread out between several of the bunkers and they had their M-60 machine guns as well as their night scopes which made night movements by the VC outside of the perimeter fence visible by magnifying any ambient light like the stars and making the night look look like a greenish pre dawn light which made it easier to see any movement that you couldn't see with just your eyes on those pitch black nights where you could barely see your hand held out in front of your face. Those nightscopes that were up in the towers would give us the advanced warning we needed if they saw any kind of movement outside the barbed wire perimeter fence. I served at Binh-Thuy from Nov.1968 through Nov.1969, at which time I then rotated back to the United States for my thirty day leave before reporting to my next duty assignment at Scott Air Force Base located in southwest Illinois just a short distance from the Missouri border near St. Louis where I'd complete my remainding two years of my active duty service. After I had completed four years of active duty I was then released from active duty and would be assigned to the inactive Air Force reserves. On the 1st of February in 1974 after completing the final two years of my six year enlistment, I was offically given my Honorable Discharge as a SGT. E-4 and then once again became a civilian. Eighteen years and ten months from the date I'd left Vietnam I had requested some of my medical records from the U.S. Air Force Personnel Department due to my attempts to have the Veterans Hospital in Detroit check me out in regards to my own heavy exposure to Agent Orange while serving in Vietnam and they told me that I needed proof that I had asked for my skin condition on my arms and legs to be checked out while I had still been on active duty before my Honorable Discharge. Well I did get the records which did prove that I had been treated for my own exposure issues related to Agent Orange, but I had also received another surprise from the U.S. Air Force as well, it seems my unit had been awarded the South Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm Leaf and we had also received the Vietnam First Class Civic Actions Honor Medal with Palm Leaf from the government of South Vietnam while our unit had been assigned down at Binh-Thuy AB and I was also informed that for our combat actions at that remote air base that the U.S. Air Force had also awarded my own unit the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with V device for Valor in combat. I had not received these awards while in the Air Force nor had I even been aware that my unit was awarded these special honors for our own service during the Vietnam War. It was a very nice surprise for me indeed, especially after all that time that had gone by since I had left South Vietnam in 1969.
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award - Valor
CRITERIA It is awarded by the Secretary of the Air Force to numbered units that have distinguished themselves by exceptionally meritorious service or outstanding achievement that clearly sets the unit above and apart from similar units. The services include: performance of exceptionally meritorious service, accomplishment of a specific outstanding achievement of national or international significance, combat operations against an armed enemy of the United States, or military operations involving conflict with or exposure to hostile actions by an opposing foreign force.