NEO – The Joke of America’s Military Rule


by Gordon Duff, VT Sr. Editor … with New Eastern Outlook, Moscow


VT’s Col. David Hackworth (r) in Vietnam

[ Editor’s Note: This is another classic Gordon, with more than a dose of anger, as he asks the tough questions of the Afghanistan and Iraq war vets why when they came home no one told about what was really going on inside those wars.

The difference of course, with Vietnam, was the difference between drafted combat troops and “professional soldiers”. There was nothing like we saw when those returning from Vietnam played a key role in exposing the truth about that war.

There were a few officers, just a few, like Colonel David Hackworth, who wrote a number of well-received books on the war, but ended up paying a big price, living in exile in Australia.

The stolen honor via the combat medals, the ones especially handed out to many officers to polish up their résumés for future command, Gordon describes below. He should know. He typed up a dozen bronze stars, the fill-in-the-blank kind, where the combat action description was the same for all, and likewise for three silver stars.

Those files are still there in the archives, waiting to be found so the recipients can all be asked what a coincidence it was that they all had done exactly the same thing to get their awards. No one would probably ever want to go digging, though. But I can’t help but wonder how many would want to give them back if asked to Jim W. Dean ]


Hackworth on his farm in Uki, Australia

– First published … February 26, 2017

Trump has no military experience, a rich kid who was given a hand up and special privilege all his life, just like George W. Bush and so many others. Bush did a bit of time in the Texas National Guard, staving off real service in Vietnam which might have been dangerous. At least this is something, and Bush got a look at the military and knew enough not to take it very seriously. Trump hasn’t a clue.

Gordon – a tall but skinny target

The current American government is filled with war heroes, or as I would put it, “war heroes in their own minds.” I have my own experiences as a combat infantryman in Vietnam to draw from; and the utter incompetence and corruption of the American military in Vietnam was nothing compared to how it is now.

As a “combat veteran,” a special status that allows me to tell truths others can’t, I feel it is time we began speaking plainly about the military. There is a reason the Founding Fathers disallowed a standing army in the United States.

They saw the British Army and their Hessian mercenaries, the servile nature of that force, the abuse of privilege, the purchased commissions, the brutal discipline and the lack of moral accountability a professional military force demonstrated.

Killing civilians, not just if ordered, but for amusement, is what professional armies led by toadies do. This is what they did in the American colonies, and what has been done since around the world, not just the overtly named “colonial wars”, but Vietnam and the “war on terror” as well.

Vietnam was my war. I came to Vietnam as a Private First Class with a special operations unit, a Battalion Landing Team, 1st Bn., 26th Marines, A Company, 2nd Platoon. More exactly, I was in second squad with my highest “command rank” as a fireteam leader commanding 3 others.

This is the rank, and this is the kind of organizational nomenclature for what they now call a “war fighter.”

Gordon – summer of ’69

All of those with me soon learned to hate the Marine Corps and that we were on the wrong side in Vietnam. Our uniforms were rotted rags stripped from the dead; in fact, this is where we got all of our equipment. When we got our M16 rifles, I had an “E” or “experimental” version that seldom worked, they looked like they had been pulled out of a trash heap as well.

We were fed C Rations dated from World War II, when we could get them, and most of us went from an average 150 pounds of very “fit” to weights closer to 120. Any one of us could easily have been used as an extra in a film about the holocaust, playing concentration camp survivors.

We fought our war 7 days a week, 365 days a year, with never a day off; no showers, no hot water, no holiday meals, no movies, no television, but we did have a radio station, “AFVN Audio 85… DaNang.”

Our packs were leftovers from World War II. They carried little and cut our skin. We had no body armor, wore no socks or underwear, wore shorts often enough and slept directly on the ground minimally 6 days a week.

There was no leadership, no medical care; wounded simply died most of the time, as helicopters were too valuable in most cases to come close to real fighting. When they did, they were often shot down. Our Navy Corpsmen, who went into the field with us died alongside us, often the first ones killed.

We never saw senior NCO’s or officers. When we would return to a base camp for mail or resupply, we would immediately be assigned to hours of digging or stringing barbed wire. Base camps were like the “funk holes” of World War II fame, where rear echelon types hid underground and quaked with fear.

Today those are the senior generals with chests full of medals.

Often as not, officers were killed by their own men, a very common occurrence and, if you were really there, actually quite easy to understand. They would flit around in their waxed up jeeps, ironed uniforms and pink little faces, visiting the war, taking photos and scurrying back to their funk holes, having suffered the rigors of combat.

They would get medals for these visits; and if you read the tales on the medal citations, and really knew what had transpired, you would either laugh or cry, depending on how you react to fraud at this level.

At one point, I was asked to help write up dozens of phony combat awards for officers being rotated home. Their combat stories were on mimeograph sheets, all identical, with names and dates changed. Some of these mimeographs had been used up to a hundred times, more commonly for Bronze Star awards.

Less used was the Silver Star mimeograph, given to people who were seen to have “career potential.” I have some personal experience with this process, having mistakenly been cited as having “career potential” myself at one point.

So, let’s see, as America entered into the time for Operation Desert Storm, the military commands were made up of those who had served in Vietnam, almost all “funk hole” officers who then became, in the terms of Colonel David Hackworth, co-founder of Veterans Today, the “perfumed princes of the Pentagon.”

This is where Trump found his leaders, leftover officers of the corrupt war in Vietnam, where rear areas teemed with young prostitutes, fine dining and untold luxury, while those fighting the war lived in the most barbaric circumstances seen since Washington was at Valley Forge.

Nobody told Trump the truth about this; and this is a story few can tell, but as a Marine combat vet, I am officially one of “the few.” Let’s get another bit of reality out of the way. By my own experience, most of the veterans of real combat in Vietnam were faced with inexorable facts, military corruption, an unjust war and an America that had lost her way.

As with others, I joined the anti-war movement, which I felt was my duty to those I had left behind. You see, with Vietnam, when your time was up and if you were still alive, you went home and your friends remained in combat. When you left, you would be asked:

“When you get home, tell them what it is like here and do what you can to get us out of this place.”

By the 1980s, however, that debt had been forgotten, and talking up military service and trying to gain some status in life by lying about Vietnam became common place. Then again, almost every Vietnam veteran I have met since then, when asked particulars about their service, has turned out to be a phony.

A Marine Recon squad

It isn’t just a few, it became a disease during the Reagan presidency and after, when military service was being glorified again, pretending to be a Vietnam veteran was a popular pastime. For those of us who actually fought the war, we only remembered losing our friends or being forced to fight an enemy that was defending its country against an evil foreign invader, meaning “us.”

What I want to know is where are the veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, wars even more stupid than Vietnam, and why aren’t they telling the truth? Why aren’t we hearing about murdered civilians, about rapes, about massive drug dealing, about theft and corruption on a massive scale?

These are the most evil and corrupt wars of modern times? Why is no one talking about them?

When it comes to these wars, that search for non-existent WMDs or, more recently, Trump’s insane assertions about Iran’s nuclear program or his denialism about Israel and Saudi Arabia as the root of world terrorism — why is the silence deafening?

Moreover, when it is time to look at the generals Trump surrounds himself with and their complicity in drug dealing, human trafficking, massive theft of oil, torture, rendition programs, endless billions in stolen funds and all the lying, endless lying, why are so many so forgiving just because these festooned clowns are wearing medals given out like prizes in a Cracker Jack box?

Gordon Duff is a Marine combat veteran of the Vietnam War that has worked on veterans and POW issues for decades and consulted with governments challenged by security issues. He’s a senior editor and chairman of the board of Veterans Today, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.


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  1. I think you are in a unique position to ask all the veterans to talk to you and tell their stories which would be wonderful, as they say the truth must be told.
    It would specially help those who want to enlist for pay and end up waiting in line to get medical help or worst kill themselves.

  2. I’m not supposed to be commenting on this site. I thought VT would have deleted my account by now. Anyway, you asked…

    When I left the Corps in 2007 after 4 years in the infantry, I was the only Marine I knew who absolutely hated the wars. Everyone else was gung-ho about shooting Muslim civilians. I do not exaggerate. No one and I mean no one could see the colossal waste of life and capital we had just walked out of.

    I saw men who were greedy for combat pay and who saw Muslims as trash to be exterminated. I was so repulsed by what I saw that I refused to communicate or interact with any of them for nearly seven years. I refuse to interact with them on social media. They are almost all rabid conservatives who embrace violence and will become violent if you challenge their viewpoint.

    The views I gathered from them on social media made me want to find a different country. They get their news from Facebook memes. The ones with college educations pump the most easily debunked conservative myths. The ones who vote Democrat still talk like neocons. They hate anyone the Israelis bomb for no apparent reason other than the assumption that the Israelis bomb people who deserve to be bombed.

    I don’t want to be around those guys. Some are mercenary trash. I don’t know anyone who wants to do anything or thinks that anything needs to be done. Everything is a video game and a paycheck to them and there’s no questioning that everything the military does serves America.

    • One thing I will point out is that there wasn’t a single SNCO or officer in my company who wanted to hide in a FOB while his men ran operations outside the wire. Everyone’s brains were saturated with the glorification of war. Everyone wanted to be there.

      I think that the reason hardly anyone questions the wars is that they are paid well and kept in reasonable comfort most of the time. The society supports them and anyone who would dare question their motives or their actions is seen as traitorous, cowardly, and weak. Subconsciously people think, “I didn’t suffer. What’s to question?”

      Someone ran one hell of a successful psyop to get the military turned around. America has become as slavish as Britain or any other European country at the turn of the 20th century.

  3. “I often noticed why so few Viet Nam vets joined the VFW or American legion. What factors influenced these decisions?” … John, one of the main reasons the Vietnam guys started their own org was because they were “not wanted” in the mainline orgs, the most mentioned reason being, “you lost your war, we did not”. I was shocked to hear this as a Military Order of World Wars lunch of ten guys, all officers, where it came up about having a problem getting younger new members (average age when I joined was 70 in my chapter.) One guy mentioned that shunning the Vietnam people was a very stupid and unfair thing to do, which many other nodded their heads in agreement. We had some Vietnam Officers, but mostly staff people. It was a “wow moment” to hear that, and taught me there were deeper currents within the Vet community.

  4. One of the great ironies of war were the so-called ‘Preparedness Day Parades’ prior to US involvement in WW1 when women, men and children were literally forced out of stores, warehouses, factories under threat of being fired to march in support of US joining the British against that great Teutonic migration.

    Recherchez le juif. President Wilson kept America out of the war until Louis Brandeis – the first Zionist Jew inveigled onto the Supreme Court of the United States by the blackmailing Zionist Untermeyer who paid $40,000 himself to keep the lid on an extra-marital affair by Wilson while at Princeton University. The sinking of the SS Sussex by a German submarine in the English Channel, Brandeis decreed was good enough casus belli for the US to engage in the war. And so Wilson pleaded before Congress and so Congress agreed. The reverberations of Samuel Untermeyer’s duplicity is felt today through his support of the Kansas drifter Scofield whose bible deception on the millions of duped Southern Christians fuels the US push on behalf of Israel in the Middle East today. (See also Untermeyer’s influence on the Federal Reserve Bank).

    The General – by Siegfried Sassoon

    “Good-morning, good-morning!” the General said
    When we met him last week on our way to the line…

    “He’s a cheery old card,” grunted Harry to Jack
    As they slogged up to Arras with rifle and pack.

    But he did for them both by his plan of attack.

  5. The ones that showed any kind of reservation to what they witnessed (or were asked to do), have been flagged as being mentally instable (mildest diagnosis being PTSD) rendering them completely incredible in legal terms. They are allk flagged, monitored & under constant threat of loss of benefits: such as training training and potential hiring. Many of the Junior Colleges and training centers have teaching/training staff with extraordinary combinations of education/experience, such as Correction Officers & Psychology degree holders. No one is hiring the recent-engagement-vets either. Those veteran job slots are filled by people who either did not serve in conflict zones, or served in no later than Desert Storm. Cruel joke isn’t it? These are our children that have had their wills broken. (Gordon, remember the extreme discipline at Perris Island? Well now they have some processes that make them helpless)! The only way they can recover is through strict Sufi training & meditation.

  6. Published on Friday, June 9, 2000 in the San Francisco Chronicle

    War Hero Sent To Prison For Protesting US Army’s ‘School of Assassins’
    Vet says protest against military school has been an `act of conscience’
    by Michael Taylor
    Selected quotes from above article:

    “A federal judge sentenced Charles Liteky, a former Army chaplain and war hero turned lifelong demonstrator, to the maximum sentence of one year in prison yesterday, a term Liteky said he welcomed as a way of drawing attention to his cause.
    Standing at the lectern in a Columbus, Ga., courtroom, 69-year- old Liteky, who lives part-time in San Francisco, read a 10-minute statement to U.S. District Judge Hugh Lawson. The judge leaned forward and listened intently, clearly interested in hearing why one of 147 living recipients of the Medal of Honor would willingly spend a year of his life in prison.
    Liteky got his one-year sentence and a fine of $10,000 for two counts of illegally trespassing at Fort Benning, the sprawling Army infantry post that is home to the controversial School of the Americas, a training facility for Latin American military officers.
    Liteky and other critics charge that many of the school’s graduates have been responsible for massacres of peasants and human rights workers in Central and South America.
    “I consider it an honor to be going to prison as a result of an act of conscience in response to a moral imperative that impelled and obligated me

    • Con’t. from above:
      “I consider it an honor to be going to prison as a result of an act of conscience in response to a moral imperative that impelled and obligated me to speak for voices silenced by graduates of the School of the Americas, a military institution that has brought shame to our country and the U.S. Army,” Liteky told Lawson…”

      “During the one-hour court session in Columbus, Lawson told Liteky that he did not understand “the connection between what is going on at the School of the Americas and this court.”
      Liteky said after sentencing that he intends to write Lawson from prison “because I want him to understand that connection.”
      “We’re doing acts of civil disobedience in the tradition of our democracy,” he said. “This has been going on for a long time. And in going to prison, I’m drawing attention to the issue. I’m happy with his ruling….””
      Correspondent Jason Miczek in Georgia contributed to this report.
      ©2000 San Francisco Chronicle

    • This totally unfair and improper treatment of a National American Hero by an ignorant lying lawyer Federal District Judge who blatantly and ignorantly disregards the illegal and criminal activities of the outlaw School of the Americas at Ft. Benning, Georgia. Angelo J. Liteky is a true patriot in the image of the greatest American Heroes like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson and all the other great Founders of America. This federal judge totally ignored the gang rape of international law and human rights by our outlaw government while jailing and fining the only citizen with the guts to blow the whistle on their crimes against humanity. This judge should have resigned in disgrace because he is a disgrace to his so called “profession” and a disgrace to America and a disgrace to the National Hero Angelo J. Liteky who put his life on the line for others nearly his whole 85 years while our government killed and terrorized innocent civilians and children world wide. Obviously the education of lying ignorant lawyers like this one must be changed, Shame, shame shame on you Judge Lawson; you are a disgrace to America and to this American Hero and the Founders of this once great country.

    • Quote from Wikipedia: ” Hugh Lawson (born 1941) is a Senior United States federal judge.
      Born in Hawkinsville, Georgia, Lawson received a B.A. from Emory University in 1963 and a J.D. from Emory University School of Law in 1964. He was in private practice in Hawkinsville, Georgia from 1965 to 1979. He was a judge on the Superior Court of Georgia, Oconee Judicial Circuit of Georgia from 1979 to 1995.
      On August 10, 1995, Lawson was nominated by President Bill Clinton to a seat on the United States District Court for the Middle District of Georgia vacated by Wilbur D. Owens, Jr.. Lawson was confirmed by the United States Senate on December 22, 1995, and received his commission on December 26, 1995. He served as chief judge from 2006 to 2008, assuming senior status on December 31, 2008.
      Sources[edit]” Obviously this shameful lying lawyer US District Judge learned nothing at Emory University Law School some 36 years earlier about what an international war crime it is to kill innocent civilians and children as our outlaw government has been doing almost since its inception. This District Judge Hugh Lawson is a total disgrace to America and should resign or be impeached. Emory is also a low level institution.

  7. I was waiting for this story and I often asked the same questions , once I understood that the war was still going on year after year. I came to the conclusion that its the money involved as it usually is. Most of us Nam ‘ laborers” didn’t have enough saved to buy a new car when we came home unless we blew everything we saved.Let’s look at the money these troopers have after a year on, after the Tour. And how much does Mom and Pops gets when Junior is KIA in Iraq , Afghanistan etc? I heard up to 250,000 and maybe more if Jr. checked the right insurance box. Let’s a lot of Hush money to me. And another is the way the Gov. crashed the economy in 07 – 08 and no one wants to come home without a job in those years – including now. All this was ” think tanked out” long before the next Nam and let’s face it – 2500 dead GIs didn’t come from the Gulf wars in 1 month like happened in Nam. Does anyone know how many are/ were KIAd in the Gulf Wars? Does America even Care ?

  8. I’m not of Vietnam age but have read quite a bit, one source was “Thy Will Be Done” by Gerard Colby and his wife. Though the book is mostly about the See Eye Aye’s involvement in South America, chapters tie in activities in Vietnam-about the early days before dragging American kids into it, once paid mercenaries started to fail-and of course war profiteering got factored in. The Rockefeller’s were deeply involved, I believe Agent Orange and Napalm were fabricated by their companies/corporate involvement. It’s a long list of corporations/interests, even in the 80’s, when the Space Shuttle O-rings failed, it was a Rockefeller corporation-so they diversified quite a bit, from Standard Oil(now Exon Mobil Chevron etc)
    Textile industry, mining, Chase Bank(David) and everything else invested into that part of the world-
    Who really runs the world…

    Quote from above link:
    Congressional Medal of Honor recipient addresses U.S. forces in Iraq.
    By Charlie Liteky
    May 7, 2003

    “By way of introduction, my name is Charlie Liteky, a U.S. citizen, a Vietnam Veteran, and a Congressional Medal of Honor recipient. However, I renounced the Medal of Honor on July 29,1986 in opposition to U.S foreign policy in Central America. What the U.S. was supporting in El Salvador and Nicaragua, namely the savagery and domination of the poor, reminded me of what I was a part of in Vietnam 15 years earlier.

    I placed the medal at the apex of the Vietnam Memorial Wall into which are etched the names of 58 thousand young American men. In depth study of the Vietnam War revealed political and military liars insensitive to the value of human life, inclusive of their own countrymen. The biggest liar was the Commander in Chief of U.S. armed forces, President Lyndon Johnson, who lied to Congress about the Gulf of Tonkin incident. It was this lie that motivated Congress to vote the money for the war. As a veteran of an ill-fated war, in the waning years of my life, I’d like to share some reflections on my country’s attack on Iraq.

    Once again, I find myself in protest of a U.S. military action that no court in the world will declare legal. The U.S. attack on the sovereign country of Iraq fails to meet any of the necessary provisions of a just war…” Con’t.

    • Con’t. from above:.”Iraq on the other hand, met the most fundamental condition for a country to use military force against an adversary, namely the defense of its homeland against an unjust aggressor. But, because of the incredible superiority of the U.S. military, there was no possibility of a successful defense.

      In its attack on Iraq, the U.S. violated the UN Charter, international law and universal standards of morality. This is borne out by the worldwide condemnation of the U.S. attack by mainstream religious denominations and spiritual leaders.

      Claiming liberation of the Iraqi people as a just cause for a war that kills thousands of innocents is hypocrisy at its worst. If liberation of an oppressed people were the real motive behind the invasion of Iraq – why did the U.S. wait 25 years to act? Why did the U.S. refrain from condemning Saddam Hussein’s use of chemical weapons in its war with Iran in the 80s? Why did the U.S. fail to prevent chemicals critical to the production of biological weapons from reaching Iraq? How is it that what we condemn today we approved yesterday?

      Many Iraqi people rejoiced at the sight of their American/British liberators, but many more did not, because they had no legs to walk to the sites of celebration, no arms to wave in jubilation or they had no life left to celebrate. The sanitary military term for such people is “collateral damage.”
      Con’t. below:

    • Con’t. from above:

      “I first came to Iraq in November of 2002 in response to the bellicose words of war coming from the President of the U.S. and his staff. When I think of children, the most vulnerable of the innocents. In my imagination I could hear them crying, I could see the terror in their eyes and faces as they heard the planes overhead, followed by bombs exploding. I wanted to be with them to offer what small comfort I could.

      This cartoon [of a sly, American eagle with its talons deeply planted in Iraqi earth] published in the Jordan Times on April 23, 2003 depicts what many Arab people believe is the U.S. motivation behind its attack on Iraq, namely, a deep-rooted, long-lasting presence. Recently, newspapers have reported that plans are underway to establish four military bases in Iraq.

      What the cartoon does not include is the U.S. interest in and access to Iraq’s immense oil reserves. A two-time Medal of Honor recipient, General Smedley Butler, said that “War is a Racket” and that he spent his 33 year military career being a bodyguard for U.S. business interests. I submit that protecting U.S. business interests, sometimes referred to as “national interests” is still the primary mission of the U.S. military. Wartime profits go to a select few at the cost of many. Again to quote Gen. Smedley Butler:

      “War is a racket. It always has been. It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious…” Con’t. below.

    • Con’t. from above:

      “War is a racket. It always has been. It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives. A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small ‘inside’ group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes.”

      This letter containing some of my reflections is not meant to cast blame for an attack on Iraq on U.S. military personnel. I’m sure you believe that what you are a part of is right and just. I once believed the same of my participation in the Vietnam War. I share my thoughts and conclusions as gifts of truth revealed to me through years of studying U.S. foreign policy.”


      Charlie Liteky
      Vietnam Veteran

      PS: God be with you in your search for truth, your quest for justice, and your efforts to help a beautiful people.

    • Charley Liteky was sentenced to and spent 1 year in federal prison in about 2000 plus a $10,000 fine for two counts of trespassing at Ft. Benning, Georgia and another 6 months in federal prison ten years earlier for the same offense. When he returned his Medal of Honor he also surrendered all monetary benefits as well for life according to articles. His Father was also a Navy Veteran who lied about his age when he joined up at 15. Every high school teacher in the country should spend at least a month studying the life of this inspirational American Hero but most of them are so ignorant they likely have never heard of him and could care less anyway.

  10. War is like cocaine to quite a few Americans. And sometimes you get accolades, retirements, even Oscars for cocaine. There is nothing worse when the public pillars of a society get corrupt, there is only downwards from there.

  11. Thanks , Gordon ,for your voice about Viet Nam , and telling the truth about that ‘war’ , the fly over officers that got medals, the ‘c’ rations [ ham & eggs from other times could be traded for a pack of cigs] , the clothes with patched holes & someone else’s name , at time they just left us in the field to rot for weeks . Phu Bai and Hue never looked so good when we were back in the rear , one night rest ,then back into the fray , ya we got skinny while the Lifers lived high on the hog.Not long ago i was honored by some younger Vets at Field Of Flags event , first time since 1971 . next month i will go to a seminar on Agent Orange , now they are admitting so much , however it will be to late for the soldiers exposed to DU munitions and toxic hell of Mid East 46 years from now. 1st. /502/101st. Airborne, E Co. Recon ,13 mos. in country.

  12. Con’t. from above:
    Twenty years after his heroic actions in Vietnam, Liteky left the Medal of Honor — awarded under the name of Angelo J. Liteky — and a letter to President Ronald Reagan at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington in protest of the country’s foreign policy in Central America, where U.S.-backed dictators were fighting bloody wars against left-leaning rebels.
    After that, Liteky spent years protesting against the U.S. Army School of the Americas, an academy at Fort Benning, Georgia, where the U.S. Army trained soldiers from Central and South America and the Caribbean. He was sentenced to one year in federal prison in 2000 for entering the school without permission and splashing its rotunda with their own blood.
    In 2003, he traveled to Baghdad with other peace protesters to bear witness to the war and work with children in an orphanage and at hospitals.
    Olive said Saturday he remembers Liteky for his humility. “It was three years after I met Charlie and bonded a fast friendship that I learned he was a Medal of Honor recipient” when Liteky told him about his plans to renounce the medal, Olive said.
    There are no plans for a funeral, Olive said.”

  13. Published January 22, 2017
    Associated Press
    “SAN FRANCISCO – Charlie Liteky, an Army chaplain in Vietnam who won the Medal of Honor for rescuing more than 20 wounded men but later gave it back in protest and became a peace activist, has died. Longtime friend Richard Olive said Liteky died Friday night at the Veterans Administration Hospital in San Francisco. He was 85.
    The Army awarded Liteky the highest military decoration for his actions on Dec. 6, 1967, when his company came under intense fire from an enemy battalion in Bien Hoa province. Despite painful wounds in the neck and foot, Liteky carried more than 20 men to the landing zone to be evacuated during the fierce firefight.
    “Noticing another trapped and seriously wounded man, Chaplain Liteky crawled to his aid,” the Army’s official citation reads. “Realizing that the wounded man was too heavy to carry, he rolled on his back, placed the man on his chest and through sheer determination and fortitude crawled back to the landing zone using his elbows and heels to push himself along.”
    He left the priesthood and in 1983, married former Catholic nun and peace activist Judy Balch in San Francisco. His wife introduced him to refugees from El Salvador, “teenagers, whose fathers had been killed and tortured. I didn’t believe it, but I kept going to more and more of these meetings and it became clear these people weren’t blowing in the wind,” Liteky told the San Francisco Chronicle in a March, 2000 interview. Con’t. below:

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