Roger Donlon served 32 years of his life in uniform rising to the rank of colonel. A leader in so many ways, he was the first Medal of Honor recipient of the Vietnam War, the first Green Beret to receive such recognition. He will visit the Pritzker Military Library for a special presentation of the Medal of Honor Series with Ed Tracy.
Donlon, then a captain and commanding the U.S. Army's Special Forces Team A-726 at the Camp Nam Dong, 32 miles west of Da Nang near the Laotian border. It was manned by 311South Vietnamese personnel with the American Green Berets as advisors. In the early morning darkness of July 6, 1964, more than 900 Viet Cong soldiers attacked Nam Dong with mortars, grenades, small arms fire and automatic weapons. The attack was determined and relentless. Many o f the South Vietnamese defenders were wounded in the fierce fighting The Special Forces advisors were in the thick of the fighting and two members of Team A-726 died, and Donlon was wounded four times in the 5-hour long attack.
Military service was almost a tradition in the Donlon family, where the patriarch was a World War I veteran. All his brothers served, one of them wounded in action. President of his high school junior class and a stand-out athlete, Roger joined the Air Force in 1953, then attended the US Military Academy at West Point for nearly two years. In 1959 he was commissioned as an infantry officer after graduating from Officer Candidate School at Fort Benning, Georgia. From there he attended airborne training and the US Army Special Warfare School at Fort Bragg. He became a Special Forces officer and by 1964 Donlon, commanded now a twelve man A-Team stationed in Vietnam.
DVD 2007-07-18: Medal of Honor with Ed Tracy
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