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Medal of Honor recipient Roger Donlon shares advice

PUEBLO, Colo. — When asked if he could share what he did to earn the Medal of Honor, Roger Donlon simply said, “Yes. But I’d rather you read about it.”

Donlon, who retired from the U.S. Army as a colonel, was one of the first recipients of the Medal of Honor for the Vietnam War.

He spoke to a gathering of students and community members at the Occhiato University Ballroom at Colorado State University-Pueblo Wednesday, but avoided the story of his heroism for advice on values and his desire for reconciliation.

“I did my job that I felt was my responsibility,” he said.

He said that after the war he felt the next battlefield was that of reconciliation and that the fight continues even 50 years later.

Donlon said the members of his special forces unit had vowed not to be taken captive, that they would fight to their death, and that dedication to each other helped them withstand a five-hour assault by superior forces against their camp on July 6, 1964.

Donlon led the defense, moving from position to position to fight the Viet Cong forces, render aid and move weapons and ammunition.

He told the gathering that part of what made the team successful was the trust they had in each other.

Donlon said it is important to be surrounded with trustworthy people in any of life’s battlefields.

He also spoke of the importance of faith and of family.

Donlon talked about his parents and how they passed their values onto him and his siblings and how having good people around can help pull you back into line when you’re adrift.

He said he learned values from his father and from his Boy Scout leaders and that his mother reminded him to spend at least a minute every day in conversation with his maker.

Donlon was introduced to the crowd by a Pueblo Medal of Honor recipient, Drew Dix, who said he and his colleagues looked up to Donlon.

Donlon closed his remarks by sharing the inscription on his wedding band that he said likely would be inscribed upon his heart after his death.

“What we are is God’s gift to us, what we become is our gift to God,” he said.

jtucker@chieftain.com
 

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