AMVETS family and friends,
Over 1.3 million American patriots have laid down their lives in defense of our nation’s commitment to liberty and freedom. The citations of Medal of Honor recipients offer graphic details that reveal the remarkable bravery and courage of those who served in harms way. I would like to share the citation of U.S. Army Sergeant Donald Skidgel from my home state of Maine. On September 14, 1969, in Vietnam, he laid down his life in service to our country.
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Sgt. Skidgel distinguished himself while serving as a reconnaissance section leader in Troop D. On a road near Song Be in Binh Long Province, Sgt. Skidgel and his section with other elements of his troop were acting as a convoy security-and-screening force when contact occurred with an estimated enemy battalion concealed in tall grass and in bunkers bordering the road. Sgt. Skidgel maneuvered off the road and began placing effective machine-gun fire on the enemy automatic-weapons and rocket- propelled-grenade positions. After silencing at least one position, he ran with his machine gun across 60 meters of bullet-swept ground to another location from which he continued to rake the enemy positions. Running low on ammunition, he returned to his vehicle over the same terrain. Moments later he was alerted that the command element was receiving intense automatic-weapons, rocket-propelled-grenade and mortar fire. Although he knew the road was saturated with enemy fire, Sgt. Skidgel calmly mounted his vehicle and with his driver advanced toward the command group in an effort to draw the enemy fire onto himself. Despite the hostile fire concentrated on him, he succeeded in silencing several enemy positions with his machine gun. Moments later Sgt. Skidgel was knocked down onto the rear fender by the explosion of an enemy rocket-propelled grenade. Ignoring his extremely painful wounds, he staggered back to his feet and placed effective fire on several other enemy positions until he was mortally wounded by hostile small-arms fire. His selfless actions enabled the command group to withdraw to a better position without casualties and inspired the rest of his fellow soldiers to gain fire superiority and defeat the enemy. Sgt. Skidgel's gallantry at the cost of his life were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the U.S. Army.
This Memorial Day I invite you to draw together and participate in the National Moment of Remembrance at 3:00 PM local time and join with Sons of AMVETS across the country in prayer to humbly ask our Creator to grant perpetual peace for all those who made the ultimate sacrifice. We will never forget.
May God bless them and may God bless America.
Richard H. Thibodeau - Commander
National Sons of AMVETS