While there are many reasons this is a very special honor, more incredible is that he will be one of the few that were not awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously.Vietnam Veteran, Bruce Crandall, will be awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions, as a helicopter pilot, in combat during the Battle of the Ia Drang Valley in November 1965.
The Battle of the Ia Drang Valley was a first in many ways for the Vietnam War and in how our Army operates today. The Army, looking for a way to become faster and more agile on the battlefield started up the 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry, once again.
This was the same unit being led by George Armstrong Custer at the Little Bighorn, now to be run by Lt. Col. Hal Moore.
Now the horses would be helicopters to transport men, weapons and supplies in and out of the battle field. Crandall and his wingman Ed "Too Tall to Fly" Freeman, would be the workhorses!Freeman was previously awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroic action in battle.
This was notably the first large engagement between American's and the North Vietnamese.
Being flown in to make contact with the enemy, little did Moore and his men know that they were just dropped in the middle of the operating base for 9th Bn /66th Regiment of the Peoples Army of Vietnam - North Vietnamese Regulars. Run by none other than Uncle Ho's best buddy -Gen. Vo Nguyen Giap.
What ensued, was nothing short of miraculous! Surrounded and cut off, the 7th Cav was outnumbered 450 to about 2000 highly trained and motivated ARVN troops. Shortly after being dropped off, and the helicopters continuing to bring troops and supplies, all hell broke loose.