Decades after his service, Vietnam veteran receives recognition for gallantry in action
Edward Dvorak ’77 came to the University of Redlands after serving his country in the military. As a Vietnam veteran, he found that earning a GI Bill-sponsored business degree from the Whitehead Center for Lifelong Learning was not easy, but was a perfect fit for his life.
“The GI Bill made college possible for me,” says Dvorak. “Redlands allowed me to work during the day at the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department while I took classes at night. I was able to advance in my career and receive pay raises, both of which helped me and my young family.”
Dvorak recently received another recognition as well. After a 31-year career with the Sheriff’s Department, Dvorak and his friend Myron Anderson, a retired Vietnam-era Army colonel, began researching the records of veterans with whom they interacted during their service. “A lot of our guys were not recognized for what they did,” Dvorak says. “As a long-range patrol unit, we were involved in a lot of dangerous missions.”
Dvorak and Anderson used recently declassified government records, including daily company logs held by the National Archives, to prepare formal requests for service medals honoring soldiers on Dvorak’s team who had not previously been recognized.
In this process, Anderson turned his attention to Dvorak’s actions on Nov. 30, 1968. Although wounded, he returned fire and held off the enemy, allowing his team members to repel an ambush. At first, Dvorak was reluctant to pursue any distinction for himself, but with Anderson’s encouragement and the help of his local congressman, Derek Kilmer, a request was made to acknowledge the events that had transpired 48 years earlier.
“When a letter came telling me I was to be honored, I was blown away,” says Dvorak.
On Aug. 31, 2016, Undersecretary of the Army Patrick J. Murphy presided over a special ceremony, including a military band, at the Tacoma Narrows Veterans of Foreign Wars, in Washington state. There, Dvorak proudly received the Silver Star Medal for gallantry in action.
—Michele Nielsen ’99