|SP4 Robert Stryker, MOH (Source) 1SG Pascal Poolaw, Sr., DSC (Source)|
Garland was seen manning an M-60 Machine Gun when he was mortally wounded by shrapnel from an enemy grenade. His buddy Joe Karcynski, was one of the last Black Lions to see him alive as he strapped his mortally wounded friend into the door gunner's seat of an overloaded helicopter that was retrieving the wounded. Garland Jerome “Rip” Randall, Specialist 4th Class of the United States Army succumbed to his wounds on October 17, 1966, a casualty of the vicious little-known battle of Ong Tranh alongside his commander and 65 of his brother Black Lions.On that same post we were honored by Mr. Karcynski, the very same soldier mentioned above who loaded his buddy "Rip" onto that medevac helicopter, leaving a comment on that post. He corrected a couple of points in the post and added his own remembrance of that last moment with SP4 Randall.
He also mentioned that we should also honor two other men with whom Mr. Karcynski served so long ago. Two extraordinary soldiers who also died in combat on the same day, long ago in November of 1967.
I was fortunate to serve with both of them. Stryker was in my platoon and Poolaw originally was our Plt. Sgt. (for 3 days) before they made him 1st Sgt. prior to my transfer to the 2/28th with Randall. Both where KIA in a VC/NVA ambush about 3 weeks after Rip Randall was KIA in the VC ambush. Five men from my old platoon along with Poolaw and others where KIA that day. Note: (there is a book about the ambush Randall was KIA. "The Beast was out there", we had 60 KIA and 75 WIA that day out of about a little over 140+ that went out. Both extremely bad days for me. The Blue Spaders chopped in the next day to the airfield/SF camp the rest of us left from the 2/28 that was left at Loc Ninh. I got to visit with what was left of my old platoon and get details prior to them lifting out to their basecamp. You can get a lot of info on Sgt. Poolaw if you search on his name. The man was a true warrior and wonderful leader who cared about his men. .....Joe KarczynskiSP4 Robert Stryker, was awarded a posthumous Medal of Honor for his actions that day, his citation reads -
*STRYKER, ROBERT F.
Rank and Organization: Specialist Fourth Class, U.S. Army, Company C, 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry, 1st Infantry Division
Place and Date: Near Loc Ninh, Republic of Vietnam, 7 November 1967
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. SP4 Stryker, U.S. Army, distinguished himself while serving with Company C. SP4 Stryker was serving as a grenadier in a multicompany reconnaissance in force near Loc Ninh. As his unit moved through the dense underbrush, it was suddenly met with a hail of rocket, automatic weapons and small arms fire from enemy forces concealed in fortified bunkers and in the surrounding trees. Reacting quickly, SP4 Stryker fired into the enemy positions with his grenade launcher. During the devastating exchange of fire, SP4 Stryker detected enemy elements attempting to encircle his company and isolate it from the main body of the friendly force. Undaunted by the enemy machinegun and small-arms fire, SP4 Stryker repeatedly fired grenades into the trees, killing enemy snipers and enabling his comrades to sever the attempted encirclement. As the battle continued, SP4 Stryker observed several wounded members of his squad in the killing zone of an enemy claymore mine. With complete disregard for his safety, he threw himself upon the mine as it was detonated. He was mortally wounded as his body absorbed the blast and shielded his comrades from the explosion. His unselfish actions were responsible for saving the lives of at least 6 of his fellow soldiers. SP4 Stryker's great personal bravery was in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflects great credit upon himself, his unit, and the U.S. Army.
1SG Pascal Poolaw was a Native American of the Kiowa people. He is believed to have been the most highly decorated Native American to have served in the United States Army. He fought in World War II, the Korean War, and in the Vietnam War. He is one of the few to be entitled to wear three awards of the Combat Infantryman Badge (CIB). His list of decorations is impressive to say the least.
In addition to the CIB with two stars, 1SG Poolaw's other awards include the Distinguished Service Cross, four Silver Stars, five Bronze Stars (with "V" for Valor) and three Purple Hearts. The citation for his fourth (posthumous) Silver Star reads -
*POOLAW, PASCAL C.
Rank and Organization: First Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company C, 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry, 1st Infantry Division
Place and Date: Near Loc Ninh, Republic of Vietnam, 7 November 1967
The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 8, 1918 (amended by act of July 25, 1963), takes pride in presenting a Third Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster in lieu of a Fourth Award of the Silver Star (Posthumously) to First Sergeant Pascal Cleatus Poolaw (ASN: 18131087), United States Army, for gallantry in action against a hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam on 7 November 1967, while serving with Company C, 26th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division. On this date, during Operation SHENANDOAH II, First Sergeant Poolaw was accompanying his unit on a two-company search and destroy mission near Loc Ninh. As the patrol was moving through a rubber plantation, they were subjected to sniper fire. Within minutes, the area was raked with intensive claymore mine, rocket, small arms, and automatic weapons fire from a numerically superior Viet Cong force. First Sergeant Poolaw unhesitatingly ran to the lead squad which was receiving the brunt of the enemy fire. With complete disregard for his personal safety, he exposed himself to assist in deploying the men and establishing an effective base of fire. Although wounded, he continued to move about the area encouraging his men and pulling casualties to cover. He was assisting a wounded man to safety when he was mortally wounded by Viet Cong fire. His dynamic leadership and exemplary courage contributed significantly to the successful deployment of the lead squad and undoubtedly saved the lives of many of his fellow soldiers. First Sergeant Poolaw's unquestionable valor in close combat against numerically superior hostile forces is in keeping with the finest traditions of the military service and reflects great credit upon himself, the 1st Infantry Division, and the United States Army.You can read more about SP4 Stryker here, here, and here. More about 1SG Poolaw is available here, here, and here. I highly recommend you go read the material at those links. Too many people ignored my elder brothers when they were fighting in Vietnam. Too many have let their memories fade as time has passed, as more wars have been waged since the Vietnam War ended.
There are 58,307 names inscribed on the Wall in Washington, D.C., 58,299 men and 8 women. SP4 Stryker and 1SG Poolaw are two of those names on the Wall. Always remember, they were more than just names inscribed on black granite.
They were husbands, sons, fathers, brothers...
They were wives, daughters, mothers, sisters...
Think of them.
“When you go Home, tell them of us and say,
For your Tomorrow, we gave our Today”
John Maxwell Edmunds
For the warriors...
Sioux flag song/Pascal Cleatus Poolaw Song/Kiowa Chiefs Song. Head Singer: Travis Mammedaty.
Joe, thanks for reminding us of these men.