The image above is of John Podlaski with Bruce Crandall in 2011 at the 25th anniversary of the Chicago Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Parade
“HE COMPLETED A TOTAL OF 22 FLIGHTS”: RESCUING WOUNDED IN THE IA DRANG VALLEY,he-spent-14-hours-in-the-air-rescuing-wounded-in-the-Ia-Drang-Valley.
After being drafted into the U.S. Army in 1953, Col. Bruce Crandall became the commander of the 1st Cavalry Division’s Company A, 229th Assault Helicopter Battalion and held the position on November 14, 1965.
<img class=”size-medium wp-image-4062 aligncenter” src=”https://vvmf.files.wordpress.com/2015/11/bio_large.jpg?w=225&h=300″ alt=”
Col. Bruce Crandall during the Vietnam War, 1965
The day marked the start of the Battle of the Ia Drang Valley. It was the first major engagement during the Vietnam War, that took place between members of the U.S. Army and the People’s Army of North Vietnam. The two-part battle took place between November 14 and November 18, 1965 west of Plei Me, in the Central Highlands of South Vietnam. Lt. Col. Hal Moore’s 1st Battalion, 7th Calvary was ordered to take on an air assault in the Ia Drang Valley. Their mission was to find and kill the enemy. At approximately noon, the North Vietnamese 33rd Regiment attacked. The fighting continued all day and into the night.
During the intense battle, in the midst of enemy fire, airstrike and artillery support, Crandall’s unit was transporting a battalion of soldiers to a remote spot in the Ia Drang Valley. The landing zone was called X-Ray. After several routine lifts into the area, the men on the ground came under attack from the North Vietnamese Army. On his next flight, three soldiers on his helicopter were killed and three were wounded. Crandall kept his helicopter on the ground – in the line of enemy fire, so that four wounded soldiers could be loaded aboard.
After he flew the men back to base, he knew the soldiers on the ground were running short of ammunition, so he decided to fly back in. He asked for a volunteer to go with him and Captain Ed Freeman agreed to pursue it with him, displaying extraordinary heroism (Ed Freeman [Too Tall] also received the MOH for his actions during this battle).
Together, they flew in supplies, water, and ammunition needed for the troops. His helicopter came under intense enemy fire, but they continued to carry out the wounded, even though that wasn’t their mission. It was during one of these flights that Bruce transported a civilian reporter, Joe Galloway, into the fight.
Combat operations at Ia Drang Valley, Vietnam, November 1965. Major Bruce P. Crandall’s UH-1D helicopter climbs skyward after discharging a load of infantrymen on a search and destroy mission.
Crandall continued to fly into and out of the landing zone throughout the day and into the evening. Throughout the day, he changed helicopters after some were so badly damaged to stay in the air. He spent more than 14 hours in the air and completed a total of 22 flights, most under intense enemy fire. He retired from the battlefield only after all possible service had been rendered to the Infantry battalion. Crandall and Freeman successfully rescued some 70 wounded men.
Col. Crandall is awarded the Medal of Honor by President Bush. February, 2007.
“It was the longest day I ever experienced in any aircraft,” Crandall recalled. “The Huey was the best helicopter ever made. We saved so many more people because of that helicopter.”
By the end of the Vietnam War, he had flown over 900 combat missions.
Crandall retired from the Army in 1977. On February 26, 2007, President George W. Bush presented Crandall with the Medal of Honor for his actions in the Ia Drang Valley.
This story originally appeared on Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund website on November 7, 2015.
Here’s another article regarding that day in 1965: https://www.warhistoryonline.com/instant-articles/we-were-soldiers-22-trips-in-out-of-lz-x-ray-choppers-got-shot-up-so-bad-he-had-to-use-3-different-ones.html?D3c=1
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Just another white nationalist sent to murder brown people.
Great article…thank you for this!
I remember it like it was yesterday, I was at Cataka helping refuel and load the birds. They didn’t care what your MOs was you just pitched in and worked. I was in the 545th. MP CO we picked up the chatter on our radios. It still haunts me to this day.
This was a well produced article. I flew medi vac and heard of him and the heroic things he accomplished.
He is still my pilot after all these years
This is a very well done article about a dedicated true American warrior, I am proud to call men like him brother in arms, many great ladies over there as well. Thanks for a job well done.
The Truth shall be told with Respect to All. God Bless
Where so we get warriors of this caliber? I was fortunate to command Bruce’s company 67-68.
It is wonderful to read My husband was also in the Cav he was 5/7 had 2 tours there . Thank you all for your service
Any story about a MOH winner has to be great and such is this. I had met Ed To Tall a few times when he lived in the Boise area. I also knew Bernie Fisher quite well as I was the Asst Scout Master of the troop that his boys were in, Kuna, Idaho.
God bless our Vietnam veterans
They truly are the best America had!
I was in Vietnam from Dec 28 68 to March 70 was 11b ,was in the va hospital a few years back and in the hall way they have this wall of honor was reading one of the stories about a solder who was in la orang in 65 it was about his time in that battle and about the medals he earned and wasn’t given until 43 years later,so when I got on the elevator a man and his wife got on with me and I told him about the story I had just read and low and behold it was about that solder, it took the DoD 43 years to give that man his ribbons.
Excellent article John. Thank you!!!!!!!! Didn’t get the picture of you and Col. Crandall.
A very, very brave man!!!
Col. Crandall is the best and bravest chopper pilot I ever flew with, was there in November 14, 1965