The call of duty above and beyond

  • Published
  • By Senior Master Sgt. Elizabeth Gilbert
  • 136 Airlift Wing Public Affairs
DFW Airport, one of the busiest airport in the United States, where hundreds of people hustle and bustle about, running, walking or just sitting around waiting for their flights, recently welcomed some of our Nation's highest decorated heroes.

This particular morning on April 5, 2011, a USO representative announces on the loud speaker a very special arrival, a living Congressional Medal of Honor recipient. "Ladies and gentlemen I would like to get your attention please. Today we are honoring the men who went above and beyond the call of duty and laid their life on the line for our very freedom."

"In a few minutes a Congressional Medal of Honor recipient will deplane and we ask if you would please stand and give this heroic man the honor due. He is here to participate in the City of Gainesville Medal of Honor parade held this Saturday, April 9."

The people around terminal B15 stopped and stood, eagerly anticipating the arrival of the recipient of our nation's highest military honor. Thirteen members of the 136th Airlift Wing, Texas Air National Guard from Naval Air Station-Fort Worth, formed a receiving line to welcome the hero.

They traveled from gate to gate receiving eight Medal of Honor recipients and a representative of the Late John Finn, WWII MOH recipient who passed away June 3, 2010.

"I am honored to come here and be invited to this special occasion," said former U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Duane E. Dewey, Korean War Medal of Honor recipient. Dewey gazed around the airport and noticed the almost 400 Soldiers waiting to ship out to Afghanistan.

"Seeing all these Soldiers preparing to depart for the war," he said and paused, "I don't like it, because war is hell." He reminded us of the MOH society motto: 'No More Wars.'

The event that lead to Dewey's heroic act is still very vivid in his mind as he tells his inspiring story. "We were overrun by 500 to 700 Chinese soldiers against 80 Marines," he proudly boasted, "and we held our post!"

He humbly continued, "There were two gunners and I was one of them. I went to check for more ammo because we were running low. I just got back to my position when a grenade went off on my left heal, which hit me in three places on my left leg and put me down. So, I hollered to my other gunner to take over my spot because I was also the squad leader and I had just been hit."

Just before dark a Navy corpsman crawled next to Dewey and asked if he was hit. "I told him that I was hit in three places on my left leg and a piece of shrapnel on my buttocks too."

The corpsman laid him flat on his back and straddled him. "He was trying to get my britches undone to tend my wounds." said Dewey. "He couldn't light a light or anything because we were still surrounded by Chinese." He paused, held back tears and took a deep breath to continue his story, reliving the painful ordeal.

"While the corpsman was working on me, a second grenade rolls in next to me and I grabbed it. The first impulse was to get rid of it, but I'm laying flat on my back and all this is running in my mind all but a split second."

He continued, "laying flat on my back I didn't think I could get the grenade out of the reach of my own men. So, the next thought was to stick it under me."

With the grenade under Dewey's right hip, he placed the corpsman on top of him to prevent further harm to his 79 Marines.

The grenade exploded.

The explosion ripped through his flesh. "The grenade put a hole right there," as Dewey points to his right hip.

Heroic tales emanated throughout the terminal as each recipient relived their stories; telling of their humble gallantry, selflessly and deliberately putting their lives in direct danger to save their fellow comrades.

To them, it was an act out duty to their fellow brothers-in-arms, a sense of responsibility to go above and beyond the call of duty, laying down one's life for the greater good.
Acts truly deserving of earning the Medal of Honor.

Capt. Steven Taylor, 136 AW, Antiterrorism Officer, said, "It is truly an honor to escort these men and stand in their presence. We will be escorting these men at the annual Gainesville Medal of Honor Parade as well."

This is the third year the 136th Airlift Wing, Texas Air National Guard, participated in this honorable event giving Medal of Honor recipients the honor due living heroes.