Medal of Liberty Presentation this Saturday

The Massachusetts Medal of Liberty is awarded in the name of the Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts as Commander-in-Chief of the Commonwealth to any Massachusetts serviceman or woman killed in action or who died as a result of wounds received in action.

This Saturday, December 7th (Pearl Harbor Day), the Medal of Liberty will be presented to the sister of Vietnam war hero, Seaman David George Ouellet.  The ceremony will take place at the Holliston Senior Center at 150 Goulding Street.  The public is invited and encouraged to attend this recognition for a Vietnam war hero.

At the 11:00 presentation, Holliston resident, Carol Thistle will receive the Massachusetts Medal of Liberty recognizing her brother’s bravery and ultimate sacrifice.

Seaman Ouellet was killed in action on March 6, 1967.  His heroic actions led to a posthumous awarding of the Medal of Honor.  The text of the Medal of Honor citation follows:

Seaman David G. Ouellet, United States Navy, (posthumous), Seaman, U.S. Navy, River Squadron 5, My Tho Detachment 532., Mekong River, Republic of Vietnam, March 6, 1967.

River Patrol Boat during Vietnam war.

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving with River Section 532, in combat against the enemy in the Republic of Vietnam. As the forward machine gunner on River Patrol Boat (PBR) 124, which was on patrol on the Mekong River during the early evening hours of March 6, 1967, Seaman Ouellet observed suspicious activity near the river bank, alerted his Boat Captain, and recommended movement of the boat to the area to investigate. While the PBR was making a high-speed run along the riverbank, Seaman Ouellet spotted an incoming enemy grenade falling toward the boat. He immediately left the protected position of his gun mount and ran aft for the full length of the speeding boat, shouting to his fellow crew members to take cover. Observing the Boat Captain standing unprotected on the boat, Seaman Ouellet bounded onto the engine compartment cover, and pushed the Boat Captain down to safety. In the split second that followed the grenade’s landing, and in the face of certain death, Seaman Ouellet fearlessly placed himself between the deadly missile and his shipmates, courageously absorbing most of the blast fragments with his own body in order to protect his shipmates from injury and death. His extraordinary heroism and his selfless and courageous actions on behalf of his comrades at the expense of his own life were in the finest tradition of the United States Naval Service.

Seaman Ouellet’s sacrifice led to a very unique distinction.  The USS Ouellet (FF-1077), was a US Navy frigate – the only Navy ship named for a Seaman (as of January 2014).

A Medal of Honor recipient deserves a large audience. We hope to see you there.

Chris Cain

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