Calls to duty: Vietnam veterans cited for military and community service

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COLONY – Former naval sergeant. David Terry Fox of Voorheesville, who won the astonishing 53 Marine Strike Flight Awards for air combat, received a Freedom Medal from the New York State Senate for his exemplary service as a Marine in the war from Vietnam.

Fox also received a Freedom Medal from the Rev. Francis A. Kelley Military Honor Society for his military and community service as a paramedic with the Troy Fire Department prior to his retirement.

Retired Army Col. John Brownrigg of West Sand Lake, a Vietnam War veteran, also received a New York State Senate Freedom Medal at a luncheon from General Peter Gansevoort of the Daughters of the American Revolution chapter at Century House.

Former Marine Sgt. Kenneth Wells of Feura Bush, a Vietnam War veteran, received a ghost box displaying all of his grandfather’s medals, Pvt. George Van Buren won in World War I. The medals include the Distinguished Service Cross, the second highest medal a soldier can earn for his heroism in battle.

Meredith Legg, Deputy Principal of Emma Willard School, received the DAR Women in History Award on behalf of Troy School for Women.

“The Kelley Medal of Freedom Award reflects Fox’s exemplary service on and off the battlefield,” said John Mullen de Troy, President of the Kelley Society, after the presentation.


In Vietnam, Fox received a Distinguished Flying Cross for his courageous efforts as a helicopter crew chief and door gunner in rescuing a besieged and trapped Marine Reconnaissance Team off a 4,000 cliff. feet under heavy enemy fire.

During his two missions during the Vietnam War as a helicopter crew chief, he won the equivalent of 53 Army Air Medals. He won seven of these awards for his performance in missions under heavy enemy fire. He also won 54 New York State Outstanding Service Cross and Five Star New York Outstanding Service Awards.

“I got a Strike Flight Award (Air Medal) for each of the 20 sorties, including several under enemy fire,” he recalls.

He had to complete 20 helicopter sorties in the combat zone in order to win a Strike Flight Award. By the time he left South Vietnam for good, he had logged over 2,800 flight hours and over 2,200 sorties.

Fox’s aircraft transported Marines and Army soldiers to and from remote jungle locations including artillery fire bases, flew resupply missions, recognized, rescued pilots shot dead and evacuated the wounded. These missions included the Khe Sanh, the demilitarized zone, Laos, Cambodia and the Ashau Valley, he said.

The Lansingburgh High School graduate attended Corning Community College and the University of Carolina before enlisting in the Marine Corps in 1967.

After completing his rifle and aviation machinist training, he deployed to DaNang, South Vietnam. Subsequently, he was posted to a helicopter unit at a base in Marble Mountain. He became a crew chief aboard the H-34 and H-46 helicopters.

As team leader, he was responsible for preventive maintenance and pre-flight checks. He was also a door gunner, maneuvering a 50 caliber machine gun, during sorties.

After redeploying home, Fox went to work at a hardware store, concrete company, and Al-tech before working for the Troy Fire Department. He retired as captain after 25 years of service.

Brownrigg served in the 101st Airborne Division. He was awarded a silver star, two bronze star medals, two purple hearts, three army honor medals, a Vietnamese cross of bravery with palm, two Vietnamese cross of bravery unit citations , a combat infantry badge, a parachute badge and a New York State Noteworthy. Service medal.

Trees for the troops

Fifteen volunteers from the New York Army and Air National Guard joined veterans at Ellms Tree Farm in Ballston Spa to load 110 Christmas trees onto trucks. The trees were shipped to military bases as part of a national Tree for Troops program.

New York Army National Guard Soldiers and Air National Guard Airmen load donated trees that go to the families of service members and troops deployed over the past 17 years.

“It amazes me every year to see the support of our local tree growers and the involvement of the military to help load these trees,” said Garth Ellms, owner of the Ellms Family Farm. The Ellms Family Farm serves as a collection site for Christmas trees donated by arborists in the Capital Region.

“It was a long time ago for me, but deploying while on vacation is always a tough time,” said Sgt. 1st Class Jason Wells of Guilderland, a soldier with the New York Army National Guard Recruiting and Retention Battalion, and a tree volunteer. “Having a tree was like having a piece of home. “

Members of the rmy109th Airlift Wing of the Air National Guard, the Logistics Directorate of the Joint Forces Headquarters of the Army National Guard, the 501st Ordnance Battalion and the 3rd Battalion, 126th Aviation Regiment as well as former fighters also helped.

News of your troops and units can be sent to Duty Calls, Terry Brown, Times Union, Box 15000, Albany, NY 12212 or [email protected]


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