• 7th Special Forces Group honors Donlon

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  • Sgt. L’Erin Wynn | 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne)
    EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. –– In front of the 7th Special Forces Group Headquarters building bearing his name, retired Army Col. Roger H.C. Donlon donated his Medal of Honor to the 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne), during a ceremony Dec. 5, 2018.
    Fifty-four years ago, Donlon was presented with the first Medal of Honor of the Vietnam War.
    The Medal of Honor is the highest and most prestigious personal military decoration that can be awarded to U.S. military service members who have distinguished themselves by acts of valor.
    Donlon’s citation reads that he was awarded for his acts of “conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity” during the Vietnam War, distinguishing himself by extraordinary acts of heroism “at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty,” on the morning of July 6, 1964, while serving as commanding officer of the U.S. Army Special Forces Detachment A-726 at Camp Nam Dong, Vietnam.
    Standing before an audience of more than 500 soldiers, family and friends to the 7th SFG(A) that Donlon helped build, his service and sacrifice was again celebrated.
    “Sir, your actions will always be a part of our legacy,” said Col. Patrick T. Colloton, commander of 7th SFG(A). “What we’re doing today, is further shaping our culture for generations to come.”
    A bronze bust, fashioned by artist Douwe Blumberg and modeled after Donlon’s younger self, is the keeper of his Medal of Honor, the centerpiece of the event unveiled during the ceremony. That legacy is now permanently on display in the lobby of Donlon Hall.
    Even with the unveiling of the bust, Donlon remained humble. He expressed that his medal was not earned alone, giving thanks to those who fought side-by-side with him, making the ultimate sacrifice. Donlon recalled two of them by name — Sgt. John L. Houston and Master Sgt. Gabriel R. Alamo, whose relatives were in attendance.
    “Together we are family,” Donlon said. “We live our lives in a way that will always bring honor, love and respect to the memories of our loved ones. And that’s what we’re doing here today.”
    In closing, Donlon went on to recognize Norma, his wife of 50 years, by referencing the wedding band she gave him inscribed with the quote, “What we are is God’s gift to us, and what we become is our gift to God.”
    After the ceremony, the Red Empire Dining Facility had a luncheon in Donlon’s honor where service members had the opportunity to meet and speak with him.
    “Sir, your inspirational acts of service will continue to encourage generations to come, which you have certainly done here at 7th Group, and through your lifelong volunteer work with the people of Nam Dong,” Colloton said.
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