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Trick that faked the enemy PDF Print E-mail

Vietnam captain recalls trick that faked the enemy, saved lives and earned Medal of Honor

 
Army Capt. Paul “Buddy” Bucha faked out the enemy while leading a motley crew in Vietnam.

The Medal of Honor recipient was hailed as a hero after he made North Vietnamese fighters believe his 187th Infantry Regiment was much bigger than it really was. The combination of bravery and cunning helped him earn the nation's highest military honor, an award bestowed upon him by the president.

In 1967, Bucha — who graduated from West Point and earned an MBA at Stanford — arrived in Vietnam and was given a squad filled “with the rejects of all the other units,” including writers, intellectuals and men who had served time in military prison, he said.

“We were called the 'clerks and the jerks,'" he recalled. "We were a few smart guys and a lot of badasses … considered the losers of all losers.”

But as a company commander new to Vietnam, "I, too, was a loser,” Bucha recalled fondly years later. “So we were sort of meant for each other.”

"They ended up being a very disciplined, proud, and frightening force," he said.

On March 16, 1968, soon after the Tet Offensive, Bucha's 89-man company took part in a counterattack designed to push the North Vietnamese away from Saigon.

A helicopter dropped his team into an enemy stronghold, and for two days they destroyed camps and fortifications.

On March 18, after they found a clearing and resupplied, Bucha directed his troops to push into the jungle, where it was getting dark.
 
Warrior Games Draw to Close With a Bang PDF Print E-mail
After a week of intense international competition, the 2016 Department of Defense Warrior Games drew to a close here yesterday with a medal ceremony and a concert, followed by fireworks.

Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Milley reminded the audience that the competitors, representing the Army, Air Force, Navy and Coast Guard, Marines, U.S. Special Operations Command and the United Kingdom armed forces, were the best of the best.
 
“This is a tough competition,” he said. “A lot of people don’t realize what this competition means. First of all, you had to walk the hallowed grounds of the battlefield or you had to get injured or sick in the service of your nation. That alone makes you the best of the best.”

Milley noted that the Warrior Games competitors had earned their places at the games by competing against a field of 2,000 to 3,000 other athletes at regional and service-level trials in track and field, swimming, shooting, archery, sitting volleyball, cycling and wheelchair basketball.
 
Medal of Honor, Almost 50 Years After Heroic Rescue Mission PDF Print E-mail
President Barack Obama will award Lieutenant Colonol (Ret.) Charles Kettles of the U.S. Army the Medal of Honor for leading a platoon of UH-1Ds, or Huey helicopters, to provide support for an army rescue, which included a lone mission, after an enemy ambush on U.S. soldiers during the Vietnam War, in 1967.

Kettles, 86, is credited with saving the lives of 40 soldiers and four of his own crew members, according to a White House statement released on Tuesday. After leading several trips evacuating the wounded, he returned in a lone mission in his helicopter without aerial support. In comparison, in the Army’s modern arsenal of weapons, the AH-64 Apache attack helicopter typically flies in pairs for support.

“We were already 15 feet in the air, but we decided to go back and get the others,” Kettles told The Detroit News in 2015. “The helicopter was already overweight and it flew like a two-ton truck, but we were able to get up in the air and get everyone to safety.”

He was later awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for his actions, and after congressional action last December that removed a ban of the Medal of Honor from being awarded after five years, the Medal of Honor will be awarded to Kettles after almost 50 years since the mission.

The president will award Kettles the medal in a ceremony on July 18.

Kettles was drafted in the Army in 1951 while in college as an engineering student. He served in Korea, Japan and Thailand before leaving.

In 1963, as the U.S. became more involved in Vietnam, he volunteered for active duty. Kettles retired in 1978.  His awards and decorations include the Distinguished Service Cross and the Legion of Merit.
 
William Reynolds, 2002 competes in Warrior Games PDF Print E-mail
William Reynolds breezed past the finish line first in his 100-meter race at West Point, down the hill from where he once marched as a cadet and a dozen years since the attack in Iraq that cost him part of his left leg.

Reynolds, 35, is a competitor in the Warrior Games, the military’s annual adaptive sports competition, held this year through Tuesday at the U.S. Military Academy. For Reynolds, the games rekindle the sense of camaraderie he felt before the 2004 roadside bomb attack in Baghdad. And running full-out with a prosthetic sends a positive message to the soldiers he patrolled with as a young Army officer, he said.

“They put me in a medevac vehicle, and the last time they saw me, they didn’t know if I was going to live or not,” Reynolds said between races. “And for them to fast-forward 10 years and I’m out here running again, almost as fast as I could with two legs, competing at a high level and I’m physically fit, I think that’s really mentally healing for them to see that I’ve made it through and I’ve battled back.”

The Warrior Games are run by the Department of Defense for injured or ill service members and veterans. Athletes who lost limbs compete against others with cancer or traumatic brain injuries. Some 270 athletes have been competing at West Point since last week in events including cycling, archery and wheelchair basketball.
 
The competition was a homecoming for Reynolds, who graduated from the academy in 2002.

He said his training and discipline are the same as when he was a competitive gymnast as a West Point cadet. The big adjustment was learning to run when he didn’t have the sensation of his left foot hitting the ground anymore. Though doctors tried for years to save his leg, it was amputated above the knee in 2013.

Reynolds retired from the Army in 2007 and works as a consultant in Bethesda, Maryland. He brought his wife and four young children to West Point to watch him win several races Thursday. He also has competed in the Invictus Games, an international competition similar to the Warrior Games.
 
Defense Grant for Traumatic Brain Injury Pain Study PDF Print E-mail
Lpath, Inc. (NASDAQ: LPTN), the industry leader in bioactive lipid-targeted therapeutics, has been awarded a $1.45 million two-year grant by the Defense Medical Research and Development Program (DMRDP), an agency of the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD). This grant will support the study of Lpathomab for the treatment of neuropathic pain associated with traumatic brain injury (TBI). Lpath is working with Professor David Yeomans, Ph.D. of Stanford University's Department of Anesthesia on this project and he will serve as co-principal investigator.

This DoD grant will fund preclinical studies designed to evaluate the ability of Lpathomab to alleviate pain following neurotrauma, and to confirm the potential efficacy of Lpathomab as previously demonstrated by Stanford University researchers in an animal model of TBI pain.

Roger Sabbadini, Ph.D., Lpath's founder and co-principal investigator on the TBI project, commented, "Lpath is grateful to the DoD for recognizing the significant value of funding further development of Lpathomab. We believe our novel approach of targeting bioactive lipids holds great promise, and this is validated by the financial commitment from the DoD's DMRDP."

Lpath has recently completed a Phase 1a double-blind, placebo-controlled, single ascending dose study to evaluate the safety and tolerability of Lpathomab in healthy volunteers. Lpathomab was tolerated at all doses tested, and no serious adverse events or dose limiting toxicities were observed.

Dario Paggiarino, M.D., Lpath's senior vice president and chief development officer commented, "Now that Lpath has successfully demonstrated safety and tolerability of Lpathomab in healthy volunteers, we anticipate testing Lpathomab in patients with neuropathic pain. The preclinical demonstration of Lpathomab's potential efficacy in TBI pain could support another important indication for further investigation."
 
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