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Alumnus receives Silver Star medal nearly six decades after Vietnam War

Milo Plank, Jr., center, a 1963 graduate of Paw Paw High School, recently received a belated Silver Star Medal, America’s third highest combat award, below the Congressional Medal of Honor and Navy Cross. It was presented by Colonel William Chairsell, III, at right, Chief of Staff, 4th Marine Division, assisted by Sergeant Major Christopher Adams, at left, 4th Marine Division, at a ceremony in Boise Idaho. Plank was cited for heroism during Operation Starlite, the first major battle of the Vietnam War.

A 1963 graduate of Paw Paw High School was recently honored for his gallantry in action while serving in the United States Marine Corps during the first offensive battle during the Vietnam War in 1965.
On May 29, Lance Cpl. Milo W. Plank, Jr., United States Marine Corps, received the Silver Star medal for his gallantry in action on Aug. 18, 1965, while serving as a tank crewman with Company C, 3d Tank Battalion, 3d Marine Division in the Republic of Vietnam. The Silver Star is the country’s third highest award. Lance Cpl. Plank was originally recommended for a Bronze Star medal; however, it was upgraded by the Department of the Navy.
The citation stated, “During Operation STARLITE, Lance Cpl. Plank and his team came under intense enemy small arms, automatic weapons, anti-tank, and mortar fire from an enemy held trench line. As a corpsman was attending a wounded fellow crewman, Lance Cpl. Plank observed three enemy soldiers approaching the tank at close range. He immediately opened his driver’s hatch and engaged the enemy with his .45 caliber pistol, killing two of the enemy and wounding the third. By his bold actions, courage under fire, and complete dedication to duty, Lance Cpl. Plank reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval services.”
Captain Daniel H. McQueary, USMC (retired) said in a statement of Lance Cpl. Plank’s actions, “I was wounded and awaiting med-evacuation. While waiting med-evac, I noticed Cpl. Plank was firing his 45 cal. Pistol at approaching enemy, killing two enemy and wounding one. Preventing the enemy from overrunning A-32.
“Following Cpl. Planks action, I was evacuated from A-32 and then medi-evactred from the area.”

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