- On May 6, 1968, Army Pfc. Raymond Witzig's heroic actions were credited with saving
the lives of others in his company - at the cost of
his own.On Memorial Day, Witzig helped bring together from across
nearly a dozen men who had served with him in Vietnam to honor his memory and
his sacrifice and the
sacrifices of others to whom the holiday is
dedicated.They gathered on an overcast morning in a small cemetery on the
of Gridley with friends and family of Witzig, as well as relatives of Harvey
Cooley, the Delta Company medic
who was killed while attempting to carry Witzig
to safety. Also killed in action that day was Charles Frank McGowen.
hundred people joined them in their salute to Witzig, Cooley and the more than
650,000 members of the U.S. military who
have been mortally wounded on the
battlefield, starting with the Revolutionary War.
On a day that has more personal
meaning to some than others, Witzig's story helped
make it more personal for everyone present.RetiredLt. Col. James Dabney,
who was a captain in Vietnam, said Witzig had a "unique
ability to keep morale high."
In a service at
the cemetery, Dabney related how Delta Company, 12th Infantry, 4th
Battalion, 199th Light Infantry Brigade, was on a
search and destroy mission
when Witzig alerted his group to a possible ambush, then remained in an exposed
providing cover fire, when they came under attack. He was awarded the
Bronze Star posthumously.
his heroic action that day, many lives of Delta Company were saved," Dabney
said. "I am so proud to have served