A few weeks ago I wrote about the nine Pennsylvanians who received the Medal of Honor for valor in the Vietnam War, and now there is a 10th – Army Spc. 4 Leslie H. Sabo Jr. of Ellwood City, which straddles Beaver and Lawrence counties.
He served with Company B, 3rd Battalion, 506th Infantry, 101st Airborne Division, and earned the medal the day he died, May 10, 1970, in Se San, Cambodia. His widow received it for him last week from President Obama, 42 years later. You can read the citation online at http://www.cmohs.org/featured-recipients.php.
I first read about Sabo in a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette story, http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/news/us/local-soldier-receives-medal-of-honor-42-years-after-dying-636217/ that not only recounts how Sabo was chosen to get the medal, but why he was getting it now.
It turns out a veteran going through Medal of Honor files in the National Archives in 1999 came across witness accounts that attested to Sabo’s extraordinary valor. That veteran, Alton “Tony” Mabb, then checked whether Sabo actually got the medal, and he hadn’t.
This was a case of lost paperwork that reminded me of my cousin Nicky Venditti, an Army helicopter pilot who died along with two other young men as a result of a grenade going off while they were in training at Chu Lai, Vietnam. I’ve been searching since the mid 1990s and haven’t found an incident report.
It makes you wonder how much from the Vietnam War is still unaccounted for, and how many service members from all American wars might not have received the credit they deserve.