Local veteran receives Silver Star, Purple Heart
by Shane Dunaway
After a 43-year wait, a Talladega veteran received one of the nation’s highest military decorations for valor Tuesday during a television show taping in Oxford.

Ken Rollins, a member of the Alabama State Board of Veterans Affairs and host of “Veterans Issues” on WEAC TV 24, presented Bobby George, who was drafted to serve as a rifleman in the U.S. Army for two years during the Vietnam War, the Silver Star for his actions November 10, 1969.

Then a private first class deployed to the Phuoc Long Province in Vietnam as part of Company E, 1st Battalion (Airmobile), 5th Cavalry, George discovered a group of enemies preparing to ambush his comrades.

“I was serving as point-man doing recon,” George said. “If we hadn’t discovered the ambush, those men would’ve killed all of us.”

According to the award citation issued by the Department of the Army, combat ensued between the two groups and enemy forces wounded George during the initial burst of fire.

George turned and engaged the enemy to prevent the group from advancing toward his platoon. He then braved heavy hostile fire and maneuvered toward a wounded ally.

Intentionally exposing his own position, George drew enemy fire away from the wounded man while he provided cover fire for others attempting to reach the casualty to administer treatment.

George remained exposed and refused to withdraw until his fellow soldiers had reached safety.

“It is an honor and a privilege for us to be able to make this happen,” said Kitty Moore, veterans service officer for Calhoun and Talladega counties. “It’s important to make sure our veterans are recognized for their accomplishments because they made so many sacrifices. We want George to know how much we appreciate his services.”

George also received the Purple Heart, a commendation given to military members wounded in action.

Rollins rendered a salute to George as a show of respect for George’s actions.

“My goal is to make sure this man is recognized anywhere he goes in Talladega,” Rollins said. “George is a true, genuine hero.”

The award presentation will air Thursday at 6 p.m., Friday at 7 p.m. and Saturday at noon on WEAC TV 24.

Contact Shane Dunaway at sdunaway@dailyhome.com

© 2013