Four Vietnam war heroes were honored Tuesday for their bravery during the Vietnam War 45 years ago.
Spc. Leonard “Bruce” Shearer of Indianapolis, Chief Warrant Officer Robert Monette, Capt. Robert Frank, and Spc. John DesLauriers saved five men from a burning plane, WTHR reported.
They followed a burning C-130 transport plane that crashed near Saigon in 1972 when they took enemy fire, returned fire of their own, and pulled five men from the burning plane into their Army UH-1H “Huey.”
All of the men, including two men who were rescued by a nearby helicopter, survived.
“We did these sorts of things in the air cavalry all the time, the difference this time being it was recognized and documented,” Frank told Stars and Stripes. “Heroic things were done every day. Sometimes somebody would see it, other times they wouldn’t.”
Shearer made multiple jumps from the helicopter to the burning C-130 below while DesLauriers battled North Vietnamese soldiers.
“We were running on fumes,” Monette said. “We were critically low on fuel. But we weren’t going any place until we had the guys on board.”
After nearly five decades and several attempts to get medals for the heroes, they were honored with the Silver Star on the 45th anniversary of the rescue. The Silver Star is the third-highest military honor.