Red Friday- Remembering November 1965, Vietnam

I know that it’s not quite the 8th yet, but since I’d rather be early than late, this week for our RED Friday post, I’d like to remember the 8th of November, 1965, Vietnam….

This is a repost of an article I wrote a four years ago.  The story was made popular by the song 8th of November by country duo Big & Rich.

On the 8th of November the angels were crying,
As they carried his brothers away
With the fire raining down and the hell all around,
There were few men left standing that day
Saw the eagle fly through a clear blue sky, 1965, the 8th of November

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I can’t remember when I first heard the song by Big and Rich, which describes the true story of heroism and honor. All I know is I’ve always loved the song, and when I did first hear it, I wanted to learn more about the story. It focuses on one man in particular, Lawrence Joel, as accounted by Niles Harris, whose life was saved by Joel.

To learn about the men, we need to first learn about the mission. The Search and Destroy mission known as Operation Hump began on November 8th 1965 by the 173rd Airborne Brigade, in an area a little north of Bien Hoa, Vietnam. It was meant to drive out Viet Cong who had taken position in several key hills. The fighting was fierce, lasted over 24 hours and both sides suffered heavy losses—48 US Paratroopers died, many more wounded, and there were 403 dead Viet Cong.

So who was Lawrence Joel?  He was a United States Army Sergeant First Class who served in both Korea and in Vietnam. In Vietnam he served as a medic with the rank of Specialist Five assigned to 1st Battalion of the 503rd Infantry Regiment in the 173rd Airborne Brigade.

On November 8th, he and his battalion found themselves in a Viet Cong ambush, heavily outnumbered. Under intense gunfire, Joel gave first aid to wounded soldiers, defied orders to stay to the ground and instead, risked his life to help many wounded soldiers. Nearly every soldier in the lead squad was either wounded or killed in the battle.

He was shot twice and wounded yet he bandaged his own wounds and continued to help the wounded in both B and C companies. He ran out of medical supplies, and searched the ground for anything he could find to use for first aid. He ended up helping thirteen more and saved the life of one soldier who suffered from a severe chest wound by putting a plastic bag over the soldier’s chest in order to seal the wound until he could get more supplies….

Lawrence’s story doesn’t end yet, so please read the rest here.

I hope you have a chance to watch the documentary also. (Although there is some language in there) It’s very well done…

So many heroes, most of whom we’ll never know about.  So many Veterans tell me the real heroes are those who don’t make it back.  To me, they all are.

God bless our Troops Lord, please watch over all our deployed, help them to feel Your presence always. Let them all come home soon.

I hope everyone has a safe and blessed day, and hope y’all got your RED on.