This Saturday, Master Sergeant Marvin Caldwell will be awarded the Bronze Star 38 years after his service in Vietnam.
Marvin Caldwell was a Platoon Sergeant in the 360th Transportation Company (262nd Quartermaster Battalion). From August 1969 to May 1970 (Tet Counteroffensive), SFC Caldwell ran convoys to the FOBs when enemy activity was heating up significantly. He is being recognized for have saving lives by his quick thinking and ability to protect his convoys which were constantly under fire from direct attacks, indirect fire and ambushes. He retired as a Master Sergeant.
The interesting item is that when the current leadership of the 262nd (at Fort Lee, I believe) heard about this lost award finally being recognized, the command structure went into action and the Brigade Commander, Battalion Commander, Battalion Command Sergeant Major, the color guard, and soldiers from the unit will be travelling to VA Tech to present the award...to a soldier they don't know and never met. He was one of them 38 years ago and will be one of them again on Saturday.
"All night long, they're telling us: 'Put on your helmets, Marines. You're gonna die in the morning,' " recalled Calhoun, who now lives in Scripps Ranch.
The enemy didn't lie. Three-fourths of the men in Calhoun's platoon were killed or wounded.
Throughout the battle, the 19-year-old Calhoun alternately aimed grenades at enemy bunkers and bandaged his dying buddies. Twice he passed out from his own wounds, only to wake up and resume the fight.
Today, nearly 42 years later, Calhoun will receive a Silver Star – the nation's third-highest award for combat bravery – during a ceremony at Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego.
Two of Calhoun's platoon mates also were awarded Silver Stars recently. Don Hossack of Kalispell, Mont., received his medal last month, and Tommy Wheeler of Lutz, Fla., will get his April 13.