Squadron Remembers Soldier Who Gave His Life For Them
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PFC Milton L. Olive, III, U.S. Army, Died Oct. 22, 1965
Associated Press

Editor's Note: Milton Olive III, was the first African American to receive the Medal of Honor for his involvement in the Vietnam War.

A Mississippi man who gave his life to save his squadron is being remembered, as the nation honors our military men and women on this Veteran's Day.

In 1965, 18-year old Army Private First Class Milton Olive III, dived on top of a grenade to save his fellow soldiers during the Vietnam War. Sergeant Sam Grimes of Alabama, was a member of Olive's squadron. 

"We helped carry his body out. He's a close friend of mine and I miss him every day," said Grimes.

Olive who was from Lexington, Mississippi, was the first African American to receive the Medal of Honor. Grimes is one of four men from Olive's squadron who shared stories about their friend and war experiences during an event hosted by Mississippi Public Broadcasting. The men say after they left Vietnam they didn't see each other, talk about Olive or what they'd been through. Sergeant Robert Toporek, of Pennsylvania.

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"When we got out nobody said let's have a little talk, see how do you feel. There was no debriefing. There's was not debriefing after any of that. It was just move on," said Toporek.

The men say they did move on. Vietnam War veterans returned home to protests against the war and people spitting on them, calling them names. Sergeant Wayne Short of North Carolina. 

"I put my civilian clothes on and went home and went back to doing my same job and never spoke about it until 50 years later. 

That was two years ago, when the men were invited to the first observance for Milton Olive held in Chicago. Short says, that was ground breaking for him. Talking and reconnecting with the men helped all of them heal. 

Six-Hundred and Seventy Mississippians died during the Vietnam War. 


Editor's Note: Milton Olive III, was the first African American to receive the Medal of Honor for his involvement in the Vietnam War.