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One Photo; One Story: Brian Thacker, Medal Of Honor

One Photo; One Story: Lt. Brian Thacker, Medal of Honor Recipient.

I will not attempt at all to make this story about me. This photo is only one second of my life in the company of a remarkable soldier. A Medal of Honor recipient; Brian Thacker, 1st Lieutenant, 1st Battalion, 92nd field artillery regiment, US Army.

I met him on May 20, 2012, A Sunday morning as we were preparing a motorcycle ride from Barb’s Harley Davidson in Mt. Ephraim, NJ to Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in Burlington County.

My father had trained there as a young Army private in 1952, so it was of personal pride that I participated in this ride. The proceeds from this ride benefit the Burlington County Military Affairs Committee, Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst and Marine Corps Law Enforcement Foundation of Philadelphia.

Hundreds of riders from around the Delaware Valley participate each spring and we ride down the active flight line at JBMDL.

I met Lt. Thacker just before kickstands up. He was soft spoken and humble and he thanked me for being there.

I was moved that this man was thanking me.

This is Lt. Thacker’s Medal of Honor citation.

Source: "Vietnam War Medal of Honor recipients". Medal of Honor citations. United States Army Center of Military History. October 3, 2003.

“For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. 1st Lt. Thacker, Field Artillery, Battery A, distinguished himself while serving as the team leader of an Integrated Observation System collocated with elements of 2 Army of the Republic of Vietnam units at Firebase 6. A numerically superior North Vietnamese Army force launched a well-planned, dawn attack on the small, isolated, hilltop fire base. Employing rockets, grenades, flame-throwers, and automatic weapons, the enemy forces penetrated the perimeter defenses and engaged the defenders in hand-to-hand combat. Throughout the morning and early afternoon, 1st Lt. Thacker rallied and encouraged the U.S. and Republic of Vietnam soldiers in heroic efforts to repulse the enemy. He occupied a dangerously exposed observation position for a period of 4 hours while directing friendly air strikes and artillery fire against the assaulting enemy forces. His personal bravery and inspired leadership enabled the outnumbered friendly forces to inflict a maximum of casualties on the attacking enemy forces and prevented the base from being overrun. By late afternoon, the situation had become untenable. 1st Lt. Thacker organized and directed the withdrawal of the remaining friendly forces. With complete disregard for his personal safety, he remained inside the perimeter alone to provide covering fire with his M16 rifle until all other friendly forces had escaped from the besieged fire base. Then, in an act of supreme courage, he called for friendly artillery fire on his own position to allow his comrades more time to withdraw safely from the area and, at the same time, inflict even greater casualties on the enemy forces. Although wounded and unable to escape from the area himself, he successfully eluded the enemy forces for 8 days until friendly forces regained control of the fire base. The extraordinary courage and selflessness displayed by 1st Lt. Thacker were an inspiration to his comrades and are in the highest traditions of the military service”.

Thank You Sir, for your service. Many thanks for the photo.

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