Is This Vietnam Vet the Only Man to Earn Silver Stars as a Marine and as a Soldier?


In World Conflict I, the U.S. Military established the Quotation Star, which in 1932 turned the Silver Star, its third highest award for fight heroism. The Silver Star was licensed for the Navy and Marine Corps in August 1942. In World Conflict I and early World Conflict II, Marines serving within the Military could possibly be awarded the Silver Star by the Military. Because the finish of World Conflict II, 141 Marines earned an Military Silver Star. Most had been awarded in the course of the Korean Conflict when Marine and Military items had mixed operations. Since that point, simply 17 Marines have acquired a Silver Star from the Military.

One warrior is presumably the one particular person awarded a Silver Star from the Navy as a Marine who went on to obtain an Military Silver Star as a soldier. On Jan. 19, 1968, 28-year-old Sgt. Clyde L. Bonnelycke was a Marine sergeant serving as a platoon sergeant with Firm C, 1st Battalion, third Marine Regiment, third Marine Division, supporting a vastly outnumbered Marine unit close to the Demilitarized Zone separating North and South Vietnam.

The Marines had been pinned down by small-arms and computerized weapons hearth from quite a few fortified positions. Bonnelycke charged about 30 yards by fire-swept terrain to succeed in an enemy bunker. Ignoring the hail of fireside surrounding him, the sergeant attacked the bunker and threw a grenade into it, enabling his platoon to proceed its assault and defeat the enemy. For his actions that day, Bonnelycke was nominated for a Silver Star.

Earlier than his award was accepted, Bonnelycke accomplished his tour and returned house to Tacoma, Washington, in summer time 1968 and accepted his discharge after greater than 10 years within the Marine Corps. Civilian life didn’t swimsuit him, and after a couple of weeks of relaxation he enlisted once more, this time within the Military. He volunteered for one more tour in Vietnam—however the Military wished him within the third Infantry Division in Germany. Whereas he was there, the Navy Division, which had been searching for Bonnelycke to current the Silver Star, lastly tracked him down.

However Bonnelycke wasn’t happy. “I wished to return the place the combating was at,” he mentioned. After quite a few requests for reassignment, Bonnelycke acquired his want and returned to Vietnam in 1969 as an Military sergeant in a platoon of Firm C, 2nd Battalion (Airmobile), eighth Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile). His platoon was ambushed on July 13, 1969, in Tay Ninh province, northwest of Saigon bordering Cambodia.

Quite a few males had been wounded. Realizing there was no firebase close to sufficient to offer cowl for a counterattack, Bonnelycke moved to his wounded machine gunner and picked up the weapon. Laying a base of fireside, he enabled his platoon to mount an assault. When his ammunition was gone, he seized a number of grenades and silenced an enemy bunker with correct throws. His actions allowed 5 platoon members to be evacuated and enabled his unit to interrupt the enemy ambush.

These heroics resulted in an Military Silver Star, including to the one Bonnelycke acquired carrying a Marine uniform. However he nonetheless wasn’t achieved.

One month in a while Aug. 12, Bonnelycke’s base got here beneath an intense rocket, mortar and floor assault. Now a workers sergeant commanding an Military platoon, Bonnelycke left the protection of his bunker and went to 1 that had suffered a direct hit. Pulling wounded males to security, he raced to the berm and fired a machine gun till he was out off ammunition. Bonnelycke then made his strategy to one other gun and continued firing. Disregarding his wounds, he returned to the berm whereas firing on the enemy and helped carry wounded males to security—actions that led to a second Silver Star from the Military.

At present Bonnelycke, who retired as a grasp sergeant on Could 1, 1988, after 10 years as a Marine and 19 years of Military service, lives in Lytle, Texas. Alongside together with his three Silver Stars, he has 4 Bronze Stars and two Purple Hearts. I interviewed him and mentioned I may discover no report of another man receiving Silver Stars whereas serving with the Marine Corps after which the Military. His reply was merely: “Actually? Can I hand the cellphone to my spouse and have you ever inform her that?” I did.

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