Friday, February 17, 2012

Fullbore Friday

"Like who?" That is a tough question; it seems easy, but it isn't.

What defines a leader and what qualities should a young leader emulate? Books have and will be written about such things - but often it is better just to point at a man and say, "This."

Over at USNIBlog, URR reminded us that we have lost one of "them." Someone who inspired people throughout his life.
The core of his character is perhaps best discovered in one of his best known acts. For the full story of The Warriors of Hill 881S spend some time here.

Like much of his generation - proper recognition of his actions took awhile - in this case 37-years, but at last he was rewarded with his much deserved Navy Cross in 2005. For here at least - I think that citation should do.
The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to:

William H. Dabney (0-80399), Colonel [then Captain], U.S. Marine Corps, for extraordinary heroism while serving as Commanding Officer of two heavily reinforced rifle companies of the Third Battalion, Twenty-Sixth Marines, THIRD Marine Division (Reinforced), Fleet Marine Force, in connection with operations against the enemy in the Republic of Vietnam from 21 January to 14 April 1968. During the entire period, Colonel Dabney’s force stubbornly defended Hill 881S, a regional outpost vital to the defense of the Khe Sanh Combat Base.

Following his bold spoiling attack on 20 January 1968, shattering a much larger North Vietnamese Army (NVA) force deploying to attack Hill 881S, Colonel Dabney’s force was surrounded and cut off from all outside ground supply for the entire 77 day Siege of Khe Sanh. Enemy snipers, machine guns, artillery, and 120-millimeter mortars responded to any daylight movement on his position. In spite of deep entrenchments, his total casualties during the siege were close to 100 percent. Helicopters were his only source of re-supply, and each such mission brought down a cauldron of fire on his landing zones. On numerous occasions Colonel Dabney raced into the landing zone under heavy hostile fire to direct debarkation of personnel and to carry wounded Marines to evacuation helicopters.

The extreme difficulty of re-supply resulted in conditions of hardship and deprivation seldom experienced by American forces. Nevertheless, Colonel Dabney’s indomitable spirit was truly an inspiration to his troops. He organized his defenses with masterful skill and his preplanned fires shattered every enemy probe on his positions. He also devised an early warning system whereby NVA artillery and rocket firings from the west were immediately reported by lookouts to the Khe Sanh Combat Base, giving exposed personnel a few life saving seconds to take cover, saving countless lives, and facilitating the targeting of enemy firing positions.

Colonel Dabney repeatedly set an incredible example of calm courage under fire, gallantly exposing himself at the center of every action without concern for his own safety. Colonel Dabney contributed decisively to ultimate victory in the Battle of Khe Sanh, and ranks among the most heroic stands of any American force in history. By his valiant combat leadership, exceptional bravery, and selfless devotion to duty, Colonel Dabney reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.
Fullbore. For those so inclined;
Thanks to General Caulfield, we are informed that a memorial service will be held for Colonel Dabney at Robert E. Lee Memorial Episcopal Church, 123 West Washington Street, Lexington, VA 24450 at 1400 on Sunday, 26 February, with a reception afterward at Virginia Military Institute. Col. Dabney has been cremated and internment will occur at a later time.

As a final note, the more I read about what our Marines and others did in Vietnam, the more I think of the injustice our popular culture from DC to Hollywood did to them. It truly is a national disgrace.

The same people who smeared them are trying to do the same to this generation of vets - but they are having trouble getting traction. The reason they are having trouble is that the Vietnam generation have this generation's back. They are helping make sure that what happened to them will not happen to us. For that, we owe them another debt of gratitude.

As a reminder to new readers, if you want to give credit to the person who started the move to tell the truth about the Vietnam veterans which in a large measure is why there is a better pushback this time against the moonbats - get a copy of B.G. Burkett's Stolen Valor : How the Vietnam Generation Was Robbed of Its Heroes and Its History.

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