Once again, a long-ago act of incredible heroism has finally been recognized. Cambodia, May 10, 1970, while on patrol, U.S. Army Specialist Leslie Sabo, Jr.'s unit was ambushed by a large North Vietnamese force. The then 22-year-old Specialist charged the enemy, killing several, while at the same time, drawing fire away from his fellow soldiers, so effectively that the enemy pulled-back. While he was reloading, an NVA grenade landed close-by. In another act of courage, Sabo picked it up and threw it away, shielding a wounded comrade, but the resultant blast wounded Sabo badly, as well. With total disregard for his own injuries, he then charged an enemy bunker, firing as he went, but in so doing, absorbed several hits from enemy fire. Somehow, he then managed to crawl close enough to that bunker to toss in a grenade. The explosion silenced the bunker, but tragically, also took Sabo's life.
Specialist Sabo had been married for just a month, when he left to resume training and head for Vietnam. Later on, when his weekly letters stopped, his bride instinctively knew something had happened. Sometime later, she received official word that he was MIA, and then, a week later still, that he had actually been killed in action.
The story would've stopped there, had it not been for a fellow 101st Airborne Division Vietnam veteran doing research for the Division Association's magazine. At the National Archives, he discovered records showing that Sabo had been recommended for the Medal of Honor, but his file was misplaced. Thanks to that veteran's discovery and strong push, this week, the widow of Specialist Leslie Sabo was presented with his richly-deserved Medal of Honor, now some 42-years after his life-saving acts of combat-valor, a long-overdue distinction, made right, at last.