Etchberger Finally Gets His Due—The Medal of Honor

CMSgt. Richard L. Etchberger will posthumously receive the nation’s highest military tribute, the Medal of Honor, from President Obama on Sept. 21, the White House announced Friday. The President will recognize the conspicuous gallantry that Etchberger displayed in combat on March 11, 1968, when North Vietnamese soldiers overran Lima Site 85, a secret Air Force radar facility in the Laotian mountains. During the desperate battle, Etchberger, a ground radar superintendent, kept the enemy troops at bay with an M-16. His courageous action allowed seven of the 19 Americans there to be rescued, but Etchberger was mortally wounded as he boarded the rescue helicopter. Although he was posthumously awarded the Air Force Cross, the White House at the time declined to award him the Medal of Honor, as it did not want to attract attention to the presence of the clandestine US site in a supposedly neutral country. Etchberger’s sons, Cory Etchberger, Richard Etchberger, and Steve Wilson will join the President at the White House for the award ceremony. (White House release) (For more on Etchberger’s heroics, read The Fall of Lima Site 85 from the Air Force Magazine archives.) (See also Air Force Hero Authorized MOH and report from WFMZ of Allentown, Penn.)