Submariner Receives Long Overdue Bronze Star
From this story on the official Navy website:
A retired senior chief was formally presented the Bronze Star medal with the Combat Distinguishing Device during a ceremony at Navy Operations Support Center, Naval Amphibious Base, Little Creek June 1.Here's a video of the award ceremony:
Retired Senior Chief Quartermaster (Submarines) Clarence G. Cooper received the Bronze Star for his actions during the Vietnam War.
"Today's award event was about formal recognition of a naval hero's courage, determination and selfless sacrifice in preventing his ship from sinking and his men from capture or death," said retired Navy Capt. Allen Weseleskey, the event's master of ceremonies and a Navy Cross recipient.
Cooper was recognized for his heroic actions while serving as craft master of covered lighter Kodiak (YF 866) in the Republic of Vietnam Sept. 14, 1968. During combat operations, Cooper's craft was ambushed by intense fire from hidden emplacements on both sides of a narrow Mekong River channel. With little regard for personal safety, he exposed himself to the automatic weapons and rocket fire while directing his crew to fire on enemy positions...
...Vice Adm. John J. Donnelly, commander, U.S. Submarine Force, was equally honored to be making the presentation.
"Today we honored Senior Chief Cooper, who is a great example of the commitment to service that has made our country strong. From his early days on board the [USS] Perch [SS 313] and [USS] Halfbeak [SS 352], to his later assignment aboard river patrol boats in Vietnam and at Submarine Squadron Six, Clarence Cooper answered his nation's call.
"And although we are here to specifically acknowledge his heroic actions on that gunboat in September of 1968, let us never forget this long history of service, and through this commitment to the Navy and his country, all of the lives that he touched and Sailors who have benefited from his leadership."
I'm always glad to see people, especially Submariners, receive overdue recognition for their actions. One person I would really like to see suitably recognized for his bravery is CDR Dudley "Mush" Morton -- while he earned four Navy Crosses during his brief time in command of USS Wahoo (SS 238), I think he deserves the Medal of Honor for his last war patrol. It would be especially appropriate to make this award now, because we now know more about this last patrol since the boat's eternal patrol location was recently discovered. While I know that this recognition of CDR Morton would be politically impossible because of the "controversy" surrounding some of his actions on his first War Patrol in command (in which some survivors from a ship Wahoo had sunk were fired upon after firing on the submarine from their lifeboats), I would still like to see this pioneering warrior honored with our nation's highest honor at some time.