13 days until kickoff: AA’s picture-a-day countdown


It’s on a football field, so it counts:

(Army photo by Staff Sgt. Teddy Wade)

As part of a series of events surrounding their spring scrimmage at Fort Benning, Ga., last March, Army honored a number of heroes in an on-field pregame ceremony. A picture of all the honorees — part of an appreciation written by a retired Army colonel — is here, but let’s consider the above trio for a minute.

On the left sits retired Lt. Gen. Harold “Hal” Moore Jr., Class of 1945, who earned a Distinguished Service Cross for his actions during a three-day battle in Vietnam’s Ia Drang Valley in November 1965. Then-Col. Moore braved hostile fire to direct his troops’ movements throughout the battle, according to his DSC citation, routing the larger Viet Cong force through a textbook display of “leadership by example.” It’s the kind of stuff you could make a movie about (it helps if there’s a book to base the movie on).

On the right sits former Capt. Paul Bucha, Class of 1965 (and a West Point water polo player), who earned the Medal of Honor three years after leaving West Point. In March 1968, Bucha’s company was inserted by helicopter into Binh Duong province, where it eventually met up with a batallion-sized enemy force. During the ensuing battle, Bucha braved enemy fire to single-handedly destroy a machine-gun bunker with grenades, according to his citation. That evening, despite the presence of enemy snipers, he directed a medical evacuation using flashlights. The citation pretty much sums it up: “His bravery and gallantry at the risk of his life are in the highest traditions of the military service.”

In the middle sits Col. Greg Gadson, Class of 1989 (and a West Point football player), who was nearly killed by an improvised explosive device in Iraq in 2007. The explosion would cost him his legs and cause severe head and arm injuries. After Action has touched on some of the aspects of Gadson’s recovery, which has included continuing service in the Army, a morale-lifting assist to the eventual Super Bowl champion New York Giants in 2008, and a second career as an alien-fighting badass aboard “Battleship.”

Three heroes, three generations, one football field on a spring day in Georgia. And we’ve still got 12 pictures to go.


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