Pace succeeded Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers, who retired after 40 years of military service, including two years as vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs and four years as the chairman.
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Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers presents the Silver Star to retired Command Sgt. Maj. Jim Gooden during a ceremony Saturday recognizing Gooden's actions in Vietnam nearly 40 years ago. Lamp photo by Prudence Siebert. by Jeff Crawley, Staff Writer
Almost 40 years ago, then-Sgt. 1st Class James Gooden and his fellow Soldiers had been trudging through the jungles of Vietnam for a month. They were exhausted, filthy and ready for some rest.
That break never came. They were ordered to be flown in helicopters from the field to the Ia Drang Valley where days earlier Soldiers fought 2,000 North Vietnamese Army regulars.
On the march to Landing Zone Albany, Gooden's battalion was surrounded by the enemy and taking heavy losses. Shot and full of shrapnel, Gooden manned an M-60 machine gun, blasted a path through the NVA perimeter and eventually led his men to safety.
That day, Nov. 17, 1965, would be the single bloodiest day for U.S. troops in Vietnam, with more than 150 dead, said Gooden.
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Air Force Gen. Richard Myers presented retired Command Sgt. Maj. Gooden with the Silver Star for his actions that day during a ceremony at the Frontier Conference Center Saturday...
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