Just reading Gen. Livingston’s Medal of Honor citation doesn’t say as much as it should. Its worth the reader’s time to go to www.cmohedu.org and see how Gen. Livingston’s action is described in the Medal of Honor’s Character Development Program and other descriptions of the battle at Dai Do on May 2, 1968.
Space limits my attempt to describe the overwhemling odds and courage displayed by Echo Company and their commander Capt. Livingston. Essentially Capt.Livingston, due to poor division intelligence, found himself leading 180 men into facing what amounted to elements of 10,000 men. To stablilize not only his situation and protect two other companies,he wound up attacking this larger force several times. Echo Company lost two thirds of its men. Yet they attacked again to block an NVA regiment’s attack on a third Marine company entering the battle. They wiped out 100 enemy bunkers and Capt. Livingston killed 14 NVA soldiers personally. Though twice wounded by grenade fragments, he continued to direct the action and supporting artillery. After his third wound, from machine gun fire, he was carried off the battlefield still firing his weapon at the enemy.
All Vietnam War Veterans Now Face how They Want to be Remembered
Continuing Gen. Livingston’s March 3, 2016 letter from the contents page: “The media cruelly distorted the public’s view of our service, while trying to force America’s withdrawal. Their efforts not only cost millions of innocent noncombatants their lives during the war, but even more lives were lost following our departure. As a tragic postscript their legacy continues to cause the deaths of many more part of the world today.
For those reasons it is vital to revisit how the Vietnam War was misinterpreted and totally misrepresented. Many of the arguments against our assistance were wholly without conscience or validity. Since we stand at the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War, now is the time to represent the truth and take back who we were then and who we are today. Now is the time to take back the validity of our nation’s military service in Vietnam and around the world today. Most importantly, now is time to reinvigorate our dedication to freedom and human rights.”
James E. Livingston
Major General, USMC Ret.
Medal of Honor