Better late than never: Silver Star presented to a local hero
Forty-three years after he put his life at risk to protect his comrades in Vietnam, Bobby G. George of Talladega has been presented the Silver Star. That is one of the highest military awards our country can give, and it is designated solely for heroism in combat.

PFC Bobby G. George, U.S. Army Company E, 1st Battalion (Airmobile), 5th Cavalry earned the citation for action November 10, 1969 in Phuoc Long Province.

The description in the order for his award reads, “Although wounded in the initial burst of fire, George turned and engaged the enemy with bursts of fire in order to prevent an advance on the rest of his platoon. He then braved intense hostile fire and maneuvered toward a wounded comrade who had fallen into the killing zone. Purposely exposing his own position in order to draw the fire away from the wounded man, he covered others who maneuvered forward to administer treatment. Remaining alone in an exposed position, he refused to withdraw until all others had reached safety. His gallant action is in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service, and reflects great credit upon himself, his unit and the United States Army.”

George was presented his Silver Star this week by Ken Rollins, a member of the Alabama State Board of Veterans Affairs.

The commendation was approved in May of 1973 and never made its way to George. He saw in a newspaper report that he had been awarded the medal, but at the time was moving on with his life and wasn't interested in pursuing it.

It was only after contact with the Veterans Administration that he mentioned the Silver Star that he never received. Workers at the Anniston VA office checked his records and got the wheels in motion to get his medals. George asked that Rollins — who served two tours in Vietnam — make the presentation on his “Veterans Issues” television program where, for the first time, he wore his Silver Star and his Purple Heart. The show airs tonight at 6 on TV 24, Friday at 7 p.m. and Saturday at noon. If you want to see a certified hero, tune in.

Rollins said George’s actions mean there are blank spots on the Vietnam Memorial wall in Washington where an additional 15 to 18 names might have been.

We appreciate those who worked to make the presentation a reality, and we are in awe of the heroic actions PFC Bobby G. George performed that day in Vietnam.

To him and to all veterans and their families, we thank you for your service.

© 2013