01 March, 2007

Media and the Medal of Honor

I haven't written about Bruce Crandall's Medal of Honor here. Probably largely because I haven't had time to more than scan the posts and stories I've read about him. Others have covered it far more ably than I would. But strange that few of those who would do it "far more ably" are in the major media...

Mr. Crandall, then a major, commanded a company with the 229th Assault Helicopter Battalion, carrying soldiers to a landing zone, called X-ray, in the la Drang Valley. An assault from the North Vietnamese army erupted, as described at the White House ceremony Monday. Three soldiers on Maj. Crandall's helicopter were killed. He kept it on the ground while four wounded were taken aboard. Back at base, he asked for a volunteer to return with him to X-ray. Capt. Ed Freeman came forward. Through smoke and bullets, they flew in and out 14 times, spent 14 hours in the air and used three helicopters. They evacuated 70 wounded. The battalion survived.

...In a less doubtful culture, Maj. Crandall's magnificent medal would have been on every front page, if only a photograph. It was on no one's front page Tuesday. The New York Times, the culture's lodestar, had a photograph on its front page of President Bush addressing governors about an insurance plan. Maj. Crandall's Medal of Honor was on page 15, in a round-up, three lines from the bottom. Other big-city dailies also ran it in their news summaries; some--the Washington Post, USA Today--ran full accounts inside.

There's been a lot of talk lately about being tired. I think I'm very, very tired of fighting something as hopeless as a major media culture that buries the story of a living MoH recipient on page 15...

More about LTC (ret) Crandall at Blackfive and Righty in a Lefty State incl. video), and superb coverage at the official Army site.