Ohio Vietnam veteran awarded Silver Star
November 9, 2011
WASHINGTON, Nov. 8, 2011 -- Former Army Sgt. Thomas R. Gdovin, from Westlake, Ohio, was awarded the Silver Star Medal by U.S. Senator Rob Portman, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, in a ceremony on Capitol Hill on Nov. 8. The award, one of the nation's highest awards for gallantry in military service, honored Gdovin's actions in combat on March 8, 1968.
"I couldn't be more proud to stand here today. Over the years, how could my pride have grown any greater than having served with men who gave everything for their country and each other. Though today this medal represents my actions, it represents their sacrifice," said Gdovin.
Gdovin enlisted into the United States Army on July 5, 1966 and served in the 101st Airborne Division. He was awarded the Silver Star Medal for his bravery during the Vietnam War, risking his own life to save a wounded Soldier while under enemy fire. Dan Phillips, the Soldier he rescued and a native of Lancaster, Ohio, was in attendance alongside retired Lt. Gen. John Cushman, Gdovin's brigade commander in Vietnam. Many of Gdovin's friends and family were also in attendance in celebration of this distinct honor.
Along with the Silver Star, Gdovin has been awarded a Purple Heart with one oak leaf cluster, the National Defense Medal and the Vietnamese Service Medal with four bronze stars, the Combat Infantry Badge, the Parachutist Badge, the Expert Marksmanship Badge and the Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm Unit Citation.
"I acknowledge and commend all those who labored to make this ceremony today a reality. The sense of pride you all have in Sergeant Gdovin is well-deserved and I'm glad you all are able to be here with him today," said Maj. Gen. Ben Hodges, U.S. Army chief of legislative liaison.
Forty years in the making, this ceremony is a testament to the hard work of Senator Portman's staff, Army officials and Kim Gdovin, Thomas Gdovin's daughter, who said she was "so proud of her father that she wanted to shout it from the rooftops" when she heard that her father would be recognized.