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Medal of Honor recipient Walter Marm will keynote ROTC Fighting Scots Battalion’s ‘Dining Out’ event

‘Battlefield gallantry’ in Vietnam’s Ia Drang Valley

04/24/2012

EDINBORO, Pa. – “For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty: As a platoon leader in the 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile), 1st Lt. Marm demonstrated indomitable courage during a combat operation …”

Walter Marm 2006So begins the citation for the Medal of Honor awarded to Walter Joseph Marm, Jr., for his heroic actions during the Vietnam War. The recipient of the United States military’s highest decoration will be the keynote speaker Saturday, April 28, when Edinboro University’s ROTC Fighting Scots Battalion holds its annual formal “Dining Out” event.

The dinner will begin at 6 p.m. at the Van Houten North Dining Hall.

Marm’s appearance was announced by Lt. Col. James Marshall, the ROTC’s commanding officer and Edinboro University Professor of Military Science.

Marshall said the ROTC is proud to host the now retired Colonel Marm at its end-of-the-semester event.

“This is an exceptional opportunity for the Edinboro ROTC and we are extremely excited Colonel Marm will honor our University with his appearance,” Marshall said.

Walter MarmMarm, a Pennsylvania native and one of only 83 living Medal of Honor recipients, was decorated for his actions during  the historic Battle of Ia Drang on November 14, 1965, when, as a 2nd lieutenant in Company A, he single-handedly attacked an enemy position, suffering severe wounds in the process. After recovering from his wounds and being promoted to 1st lieutenant, he was awarded the Medal of Honor on December 19, 1966.  He reached the rank of colonel before retiring from the Army in1995.

Also from the Medal of Honor citation describing Marm’s actions that fateful day in the Ia Drang Valley:

“His company was moving through the valley to relieve a friendly unit surrounded by an enemy force of estimated regimental size. 1st Lt. Marm led his platoon through withering fire until they were finally forced to take cover. Realizing that his platoon could not hold very long, and seeing four enemy soldiers moving into his position, he moved quickly under heavy fire and annihilated all four. Then, seeing that his platoon was receiving intense fire from a concealed machine gun, he deliberately exposed himself to draw its fire. Thus, locating its position, he attempted to destroy it with an anti-tank weapon.  Although he inflicted casualties, the weapon did not silence the enemy fire.

“Quickly disregarding the intense fire directed on him and his platoon, he charged 30 meters across open ground and hurled grenades into the enemy position, killing some of the eight insurgents manning it. Although severely wounded, when his grenades were expended, armed with only a rifle, he continued the momentum of his assault on the position and killed the remainder of the enemy.

“First Lt. Marm’s selfless actions reduced the fire on his platoon, broke the enemy assault, and rallied his unit to continue toward the accomplishment of this mission. First Lt. Marm’s gallantry on the battlefield and his extraordinary intrepidity at the risk of his life are in the highest traditions of the U.S. Army and reflect great credit upon himself and the Armed Forces of his country.”

Born November 20, 1941 in Washington, Pennsylvania, Marm joined the Army in Pittsburgh, serving 30 years, and, according to Lt. Colonel Marshall, was featured in the book, “We were Soldiers Once and Young,” and the later movie, “We were Soldiers.”