Vietnam vet gets award 50 years after serving

Published: Jul. 1, 2021 at 7:44 AM CDT
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - Pat Stanley doesn’t mind the fact that he’s getting the Air Assault Badge over a half century after he earned it. Stanley and other members of the 101st Airborne Division were given the awards recently at Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

“It was a recognition, in a way, long overdue,” said Stanley. “We did those things back then, real life scenarios. Now days they get them just for completing the course.”

Stanley was trained on the job, rescuing soldiers trapped in the Achau Valley near the demilitarized zone.

“I never hesitated one time. I mean, to me at that time, it was like somebody skydiving. It was a thrill, an adrenaline rush, until you hit the ground and had to do what you had to do.”

A member of the Condors, Pat still remembers on Memorial Day those that didn’t come back.

“I placed one flag for every condor that was killed in Vietnam between 1969 and 1971 whenever we packed up colors and came back at the end. There were 33 of them.”

Pat Stanley’s unit is the subject of a book titled, “The Price They Paid.”

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