On September 25, Troy High School hosted an honored and respected guest who spent his valuable time to discuss his life story with any Troy student who was interested. The special guest speaker was a Medal of Honor recipient who fought in the Vietnam War. Brian Thacker was one of the few brave soldiers who survived and received the Medal of Honor. He had received it when Vietnamese soldiers attacked an American base, trapping his team and himself.
In an act of selflessness, Brian allowed for his team to escape while ordering bombs to launch at himself, blocking his team from being followed while also buying him time. His plan succeeded, and his team escaped. However, Brian became trapped as Vietnamese soldiers surrounded his hiding spot. After 11 days of hiding out of sight, he escaped crawling away from them. Upon fully recovering, Brian Thacker received his Medal of Honor in 1971. For his experiences and service to this country, he is unarguably one of America’s top heroes. He was willing to sacrifice himself in the face of danger, selflessly placing others’ lives above his.
His story was incredible, and after hearing the video and story, everyone stood up and applauded. His character was evidently very humble and strong, as he never referenced his Medal of Honor as if it was his most valuable possession. Instead, he usually referred to it as just a normal award. Thacker, peppered with questions from eager students and instructors, answered every question about his experiences, emotions, and ideas. Thacker modestly turned down the praise he received for his valor and gave credit to the soldiers he helped evacuate.
After discussing much of the hard work and experiences he put into the country, guest speakers gave a presentation about the history of the award, what it meant to be a recipient of the Medal of Honor, and how his heroism applied to three of the key ideas in the Navy: Honor, Courage, and Commitment. When the commander of Troy’s NJROTC unit was questioned, he quickly responded with, “It is an honor to meet a Medal of Honor recipient in person. There are so few out there who have survived these devastating attacks.” When he sat back down, everyone, again, gave a standing ovation in respect and awe of finally recognizing the deeds of the hero.
As every student exited the building, there were murmurs of excitement as everyone felt awe being in the presence of a war hero only heard of in stories.
by Nathan Park