WASHINGTON, July 23 -
Mr. Speaker, it was the Vietnam war. It was March 1967--45 years ago.
Army First Sergeant David McNerney's company was sent to recover a missing American Army reconnaissance team. As his company approached that reconnaissance team, they walked into heavy fire from the Vietnamese Army. McNerney was soon wounded by a grenade, and the commander was killed, but Sergeant McNerney took control of the situation.
Injury could not deter this patriot.
He climbed a tree, exposing his position to heavy enemy fire, and called in close artillery fire. After that occurred, he personally destroyed an enemy machine gun. And always thinking of others, he personally pulled wounded soldiers to safety and secured a landing zone for medical helicopters that were approaching.
He had the chance to evacuate that evening, but he refused and remained with his troops overnight on the battlefield until a new commander arrived the next day. His actions stopped the enemy advance and saved many of his own men's lives. These actions of heroism earned David McNerney the Congressional Medal of Honor presented to him by Lyndon Baines Johnson in 1968.
Mr. Speaker, this is a fairly recent photograph of First Sergeant David McNerney. He kind of looks like Clint Eastwood to me and he's just as tough, because I knew him for a good number of years until he died in 2010.
This was not where Sergeant McNerney's service to America would end on that battlefield in Vietnam. He started really serving the United States when he joined the United States Navy right out of St. Thomas High School in Houston, Texas. He did two tours of duty in the Korean War.
After leaving the Navy in 1953, he joined the United States Army, and was one of the first 500 so-called ``advisers'' sent to Vietnam by President Kennedy in 1962. The acts that earned McNerney the Medal of Honor came on his third tour of duty in Vietnam. After he received the Congressional Medal of Honor, First Sergeant David McNerney from Crosby, Texas, volunteered for another tour of duty in Vietnam.
Mr. Speaker, those were amazing men that served America in the Vietnam War. First Sergeant McNerney served with thousands of other Vietnam troops and generally were not appreciated by America when they returned back home after doing what their country asked them to do.
After he retired from the Army in 1969, he worked in the Customs Service at the Port of Houston until 1995. He served his country for 46 years in the United States Navy, United States Army, and the Customs Service.