By Debbie Gregory.
It took almost 48 years, but Vietnam veteran Edward Dvorak has now been awarded the military’s Silver Star for valor after braving enemy fire to save his fellow soldiers.
“It’s like a check-off on the internal moral clock that says I did the right thing, that I served honorably,” said the 68-year-old Lakebay, Washington man after he was presented with the medal
On Nov. 29, 1968, while a member of F Company, 51st Infantry Regiment, Dvorak’s team was hit by two rocket-propelled grenades during a mission near the military base at Bien Hoa.
Despite taking shrapnel to his left shoulder and chest (some of which is still there), the 19-year-old Dvorak grabbed an M60 and “provided immediate effective and suppressive machine gun fire to protect the seriously wounded LRPs while still exposing himself to automatic weapons fire,” according to his Silver Star citation.
Dvorak continued engaging enemy fighters while still under enemy fire, refusing medical aid, and he was able to direct fire support from Army attack helicopters that eventually would lead the enemy to break off contact.
Dvorak said he had to sit down when he got the letter notifying him of the honor. The Silver Star, awarded for gallantry in action, is the country’s third-highest military combat decoration.
Dvorak, who continued to serve with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department after his time in the Army, said he was humbled by the award. He humbly stated that he was accepting the award “one-twelfth for me, eleven-twelfths for the rest of the team.”