Staff Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company B, 4th Battalion, 21st Infantry, 11th Infantry Brigade, Americal Division.
U.S. Army (Ret.) West of Tam Ky, Republic of Vietnam, 8/26/68
“In combat, my faith in God grew as did my respect for the word ‘honor.’ I wish I could sit down at a campfire with all of our nation’s children, and they would listen to my words of advice. They are simple words: No one is perfect, everyone fails and often comes a little short of what we expect of ourselves.
“I have traveled the world and have seen many places and different races of people. I trained years for war and fought in the dark jungles of Vietnam. Yet, I know so little, I feel so small. I have searched for strength and found weakness. I have found the true and everlasting strength only through faith in my God. I have found that, through prayer, I am a giant of power and ability. But faith is not something that just happens, you must develop it. With faith you can move a mountain, keep a family together, help a friend, or even win a war.
“If you desire spiritual greatness, you must humble yourself, set aside all your human pride, study the Word of God, and always be in prayer.”
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. S/Sgt. Bacon distin-guished himself while serving as a squad leader with the 1st Platoon, Company B, during an operation west of Tam Ky.
When Company B came under fire from an enemy bunker line to the front, S/Sgt. Bacon quickly organized his men and led them forward in an assault. He advanced on a hostile bunker and de-stroyed it with grenades. As he did so, several fellow soldiers including the 1st Platoon leader, were struck by machine gun fire and fell wounded in an exposed position forward of the rest of the pla-toon. S/Sgt. Bacon immediately assumed command of the platoon and assaulted the hostile gun position, finally killing the enemy gun crew in a single-handed effort.
When the 3d Platoon moved to S/Sgt. Bacon’s location, its leader was also wounded. Without hesitation, S/Sgt. Bacon took charge of the additional platoon and continued the fight. In the en-suing action, he personally killed 4 more enemy soldiers and silenced an antitank weapon.
Under his leadership and example, the members of both platoons accepted his authority without question. Continuing to ignore the intense hostile fire, he climbed up on the exposed deck of a tank and directed fire into the enemy position while several wounded men were evacuated.
As a result of S/Sgt. Bacon’s extraordinary efforts, his company was able to move forward, eliminate the enemy positions, and rescue the men trapped at the front. S/Sgt. Bacon’s bravery at the risk of his life was in the highest traditions of the military service and reflects great credit upon himself, his unit, and the U.S. Army.
NO GREATER GIFT—A HERO’S HEART
I was born in Caraway, Arkansas—a small farming community in northeast Arkansas. Most of my family members and friends were from the same economically depressed surroundings. Cotton was the king and when poor crop prices hit us hard, bad times got worse. The one thing I remember most about my younger years in the cotton fields was that although we were poor and times were hard, people were most always cheerful, trusted in God, and loved one another.
My childhood experience in hardship and my close association with a group of people who had great values and steadfast faith helped me develop a trust in God that far exceeded any faith in my own abilities. This same faith gave me confidence to overcome obstacles in life, in combat, in my profession as a soldier, and in the other difficulties that I would face.
I survived two tours in the jungles of Vietnam with combat infantry units. I have seen many great men make sacrifices to save others—men willing to die for their friends. It takes more than just love for your country or patriotism to have great courage. It takes a hero’s heart, that is, a personal love for those around you because you know they would do the same for you.
On the 26th of August, 1968, while serving with B company, the 11th Light Infantry Brigade of the Americal Division, we came under heavy fire from an enemy bunker in an area near Tam Ky. We were led by a great commander and friend, Captain Treadwell, (“Big T”). Many great Americans were struck down that day: some were wounded; some died. Many were struck down trying to help me…and they called me a hero! As always during the battle, I prayed as often as possible while dodging bullets, rocket fire, and hand grenades. Why God lets some of us live and others die I will never know, but I do know this: A man can live a lifetime helping others, but no one can give more in a lifetime than my friends gave in just one moment of time.
Life and death are as close as dark and light at early dawn. We do have a purpose in life; God has designed a plan for each of us to fulfill. We can only trust in His power and greatness, and if we continue to march forward in faith, we can finish the race set before us.