Medal of Honor coming to family of Pa. soldier
HICKORY, Pa. — Rose Mary Sabo-Brown’s “museum” is getting one more piece of hardware. Sabo-Brown will accept the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest military decoration, on behalf of her late husband, Spec. Leslie H. Sabo Jr., four decades after he was killed while protecting his comrades from an ambush in Cambodia during the Vietnam War.
HICKORY, Pa. — Rose Mary Sabo-Brown's "museum" is getting one more piece of hardware.
Sabo-Brown will accept the Medal of Honor, the nation's highest military decoration, on behalf of her late husband, Spec. Leslie H. Sabo Jr., four decades after he was killed while protecting his comrades from an ambush in Cambodia during the Vietnam War.
President Obama will present the medal to Sabo-Brown, of Hickory, and her brother-in-law, George Sabo, who lives near Detroit, at a White House ceremony Wednesday, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported.
"A piece of metal won't bring back my husband," Sabo-Brown told the newspaper. "But my heart beams with pride for Leslie because he's finally getting what's due to him. I will show it proudly for him for the rest of my life."
The 22-year-old Army rifleman, who grew up in Ellwood City, was killed in Se San, Cambodia, on May 10, 1970. According to the White House, Sabo charged an enemy bunker after his platoon came under attack, killing several enemy soldiers while drawing fire away from his comrades.
Sabo then picked up an enemy grenade that landed nearby, threw it, and shielded a wounded comrade from the blast. Though wounded, Sabo renewed his charge and was shot. He crawled toward the bunker and threw a grenade into it, silencing enemy fire. He died in the blast.
"His indomitable courage and complete disregard for his own safety saved the lives of many of his platoon members," the White House said.
The Medal of Honor has been awarded to fewer than 3,500 people since the Civil War, including about 250 who served in Vietnam.
Sabo's widow plans to display a replica of the medal in her living room, a place she calls the "museum" because it's filled with photos and other memorabilia of her husband's life. The real medal will be kept in a safe-deposit box.
Sabo met his eventual wife at a high school football game and proposed on June 13, 1968. He was subsequently drafted, but the military permitted Sabo to return to Ellwood City to get married. He was with his new bride for a month before returning to duty.
"We were together for 31 days. I never saw him again," said Sabo-Brown, who later remarried and had two children before divorcing her second husband. "It's a sick feeling that never goes away."