Medal of Honor recipient celebrated at Kiwanis

Kim Abel introduces Bruce P. Crandall, recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor.

On Tuesday at the Family Inn at Manchester, The Kiwanis Club of South Kitsap honored Vietnam Veteran and Manchester Resident Bruce P. Crandall, who this spring received the Congressional Medal of Honor for his now-famous mission in November of 1965.

In February, Crandall, 74, received the medal for this historical event, which was also documented in the book “We Were Soldiers Once ... And Young" and later dramatized in the film “We Were Soldiers.”

Mayor Kim Abel read the citation for his award. According to the citation for the Medal of Honor, Crandall’s battalion came under enemy fire when departing from a search and destroy mission. Crandall used airlifts to bring troops out, and began transporting ammunition and medical volunteers to tend the wounded.

In all, Crandall took 22 flights while under fire.

“Major Crandall’s daring acts of bravery and courage in the face of an overwhelming and determined enemy are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army,” Abel read.

Crandall said at the time he was not aware the event would become so well known and historical.

“You don’t have the slightest idea,” Crandall said. “If we didn’t do what we are going to do, the guys on the ground were going to get overrun.”

But with this award, a book and the movie in which Crandall was played by Greg Kinnear, Crandall said he knows how important it is now.

“It’s a great honor, but now it’s a responsibility,” Crandall said.

After Crandall addressed the group at the Family Inn at Manchester, attendees lined up to greet him.

Other military veterans offered him thanks and one youth even requested that he sign two ace card — the only thing she could find for him to sign.

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