Saturday, December 17, 2016

In Memoriam: Lawrence Manley "Larry" Colburn (1949-2016)

From MetaFilter:
"The Soldier's Medal is awarded to Mr. Lawrence Colburn for heroic performance on March 16, 1968 in saving the lives of at least ten Vietnamese civilians during the unlawful massacre of noncombatants by American forces at My Lai, Quang Ngai Province, South Vietnam. Specialist Colburn was serving as a door gunner on a helicopter which landed in the line of fire between American ground troops and fleeing Vietnamese civilians to prevent their murder.
Specialist Colburn, at the risk of his personal safety, provided cover for the pilot as he went forward of the American lines and confronted the leader of the American forces, and subsequently coaxed the Vietnamese civilians out of a bunker to enable their evacuation.
Later, as the helicopter was lifting off after seeing the evacuation of the Vietnamese civilians, Specialist Colburn spotted movement in a ditch filled with bodies south of My Lai Four. The helicopter again landed, and Specialist Colburn, assisted by the crew chief, retrieved a wounded child from the pile of bodies. The child was then flown to the safety of a hospital at Quang Ngai.

Specialist Colburn's efforts resulted in an order for the cease-fire at My Lai and an end to the killing of innocent civilians. Specialist Colburn's heroism exemplifies the highest standards of personal courage and ethical conduct, reflecting distinct credit upon him and the United States Army."
-Signed, Togo D. West, Jr., Secretary of the Army.

Mr. Colburn died on Tuesday, December 13, 2016