In June, 1969, Lieutenant McLean took charge of a recon unit in Central Vietnam.

Sessums, watching from below, assumed Sheriff had been killed and radioed back that they now had two KIA. Sheriff motioned to See to throw a grenade. Shrapnel also blew a hole in the plastic stock of his M-16 rifle. The Marine Corps’ record of that patrol consists of a 29-line entry found in a July 10, 1969, command chronology. Oct. 15 (UPI) -- Firefighters and paramedics in Florida finished mowing a man's lawn after treating him for heat exhaustion he suffered while mowing it. When interviewed for the seminal 1970s documentary series "The World at War," he was identified as "Squadron Commander James Stewart" and spoke only of the bombing campaign.

They had to break off the rescue ­attempt. Even with the demands and distractions of movie stardom, Stewart remained committed to his patriotic service.

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“They knocked the crap out of everything, but ­apparently not the bunker,” he said. Visit your state election office website to find out whether they offer early voting. The four have never been together since January 1998, when I began researching the patrol, there have been many phone conversations between the members. Helicopters also hammered the hill with machine guns. Owl boards helicopter fighting California wildfire. Few Americans today know that Stewart was a bona fide hero who served in World War II.

I was an artillery forward observer with that company.

I don’t know,” said Sessums.

“I had been operating on adrenaline up to that point,” said Sheriff, “but now was the first time I really felt afraid. And he carried the emotional burden of those who survived when so many others did not. Stewart and Company Hardware Store, which he hoped Stewart would take ov… Sessums remembered hearing the distinct thud of a metal object hitting the tree they were behind, and then a sulfurlike smell and a hissing sound. Late that day 1st Lt. Frank Cuddy, a Marine helicopter pilot who was later awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for his support of American Beauty, was flying back from Laos with his ­helicopter gunship team when he saw the McDonnell F-4 Phantoms and learned that a recon team was in real trouble. He was shot in the chest by a sniper and died beside the jungle trail. But if James Stewart was angered or embittered by the loss of his son, he never showed it publicly. The plan was for the 3rd Platoon to make the rescue while the 1st and 2nd platoons remained in reserve. There were fantasy elements. Even the wealthy and well-connected had the sacred duty to stand up and fight for their country. It was humane of us to bury their dead, but risky to spend any more time exposed. Stewart needed no more persuading.

Visit the state elections site. The blast neutralized that threat, but the other dug-in NVA soldiers kept the Marines pinned to the ground.

An illumination flare was dropped, and the team was told to be ready. “As the choppers approached we were ready to make our run,” said Lake.

Last visit, I felt like I was able to help him.”. Sometimes circumstances make it hard or impossible for you to vote on Election Day.

The Montagnard scout Bunn was up the hill first, followed by Lake and Sheriff. I didn’t want to go into the DMZ with another new guy.”, Sessums, Lake and Sheriff each recalled the premonition that McLean had voiced in the first days of the patrol. Jeffrey Grosscup was a Marine Corps ­artillery officer with the infantry company that rescued the American Beauty reconnaissance team. Stewart's father ran the family business, the J.M. To allow the helicopter landing, American jets had blown away the hilltop foliage, and it was still smoldering when the team went in. After the Pearl Harbor attack, the Air Force wanted Stewart to sell war bonds, contending that he was too old (mid-30s) and too famous to risk flying combat missions. Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 4th Marines, made it to the southern boundary of the DMZ around 0930, having traveled about three miles with some 90 troops.

By June 7, a day before American Beauty had its own fight, the recon team to the east had had an eyeball-to-eyeball encounter with the NVA, reporting two dead and several wounded. We thought they were wiped out.” (In fact, the reason American Beauty lost contact at that point was that the other team changed its radio frequency. “We were in no man’s land, unknowingly dropped into a [1,200-member] enemy battalion, and [helicopter extraction from] the hilltop was the only way out.”. His radio was shot out and the hydraulic system partially shut down, but he kept it flying and landed at Vandegrift. It had been his first patrol; his squad-mates barely knew him. He didn't want to be drafted. Right away the patrol hit trouble when it found itself surrounded by a much larger force of North Vietnamese soldiers. Startled, Sheriff fired his own unaimed automatic volley.

“The NVA didn’t know where we were,” said Lake, “and they didn’t come out of their holes to look. American Beauty, from an undetected observation point, called in 72 rounds of artillery. Besides McLean, two other reconners from the team to the east were killed and at least 15 Marines were wounded in their efforts to verify NVA activity in the DMZ. To tell you the truth, you are the only Marine who served directly with our son that we have heard from….

Lake provided the names of Roger See, Joe “Doc”  Sheriff, Jimmy Sessums and Bunn, the Vietnamese Montagnard scout. Navy Lieutenant Martin Glasser was the battalion surgeon for the 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion in June 1969. With dignity almost inconceivable with today's emotionally-vampiric media, Stewart bore his grief as he seemed to do everything -- with humility, grace, and quiet strength. Late that afternoon the team observed a bunker complex with NVA soldiers ­periodically poking their heads out of holes.

“I didn’t even know he was Stewart’s son,” said Sheriff. He wanted to be a Marine. “Nothing got him.”. Sheriff knew that the guy with the AK-47 was still in his hole. Emily Maynard gives birth to her fifth child. Team members deny that happened, saying that up to that point their position had not been compromised. Joe Kennedy Jr. died when his B-24 exploded during a test flight.

Cuddy thought that after this pounding the CH-46s would attempt another rescue, but he learned that the division commander had ordered a cessation of rescue attempts. “I’d just opened a can of meatballs and spaghetti,” said Lake, “and as I looked in the direction we were headed, I saw two jungle hats coming down the trail.

When a gunship did arrive, the pilot needed the exact location of American Beauty before he could deliver his ordnance. Lt. McLean's recon squad was inserted by helicopter into the jungles of the DMZ. Bobcat wanders aisles of Dollar General store in Kentucky.

Sometime that evening the company learned that it would move out at first light to get the team out. What we didn’t know was the size of the NVA force American Beauty had encountered.

Stewart's father fought in World War I, and other relations had done battle for the Republic all the way back to the Revolution. The following morning the American Beauty survivors, all with bullet or shrapnel wounds, walked back to Bravo’s original patrol base for their ride out. Officers seldom went on recon patrols, and this would be McLean’s first. His name is etched on Panel 23 West, Row 113, of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. A commemorative tracing of Lt. McLean's name may be requested via the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund.

And even though aircrews were suffering the highest casualty rates of all American combat units, Stewart found a loophole that allowed him to fly more missions than Air Force regulations allowed. Although that history relates an account of the patrol by Major Charles W. Cobb Jr., the American Beauty survivors could not recognize their experience in his narrative. And no pilot wore his cap any better. He hired a trainer to help him bulk up. James Stewart. Jimmy Stewart’s Letter to Robert Lake appears on next page. “I started crying. Before the war, they had collaborated on two big hits -- "You Can't Take It With You" and "Mr. Smith Goes To Washington.". Trey Parker, actor, animator, screenwriter, director, musician; co-creator of animated TV series South Park; co-wrote, co-directed multiple–Tony Award winning musical The Book of Mormon. My wife Gloria and I wanted you to know that we are grateful to you for your kind and thoughtful letter. James Stewart, Actor: Anatomy of a Murder. In addition, Bob Lake has met personally with each of the team members and Joe Sheriff has met with Roger See.“I saw Roger in the summer of 2000 in the Florida Keys,” said Sheriff, who was then 52. Visit your state election office website to find out if you can vote by mail. His devotion to his men earned their lifelong admiration. We remember Jimmy Stewart as the amiable Hollywood icon who appeared in such classic movies as "Harvey" and "Vertigo," "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance" and "Anatomy of a Murder.". All rights reserved. It is your right and your responsibility. “We had movement 20 meters from where we were.”, Late on the morning of June 8 the team had moved only a short distance from its night position. For four hours they zigzagged through the bush, stopping frequently to listen. Stewart drifted back to Los Angeles, but he was restless and uncertain. But for all his many and varied roles, Stewart declined to make big studio war pictures. I promised them I’d be back.”, As darkness fell, the team had been able to crawl together behind some fallen trees where they could take cover. Capra was well aware of the darkness brooding within returning veterans. The point squad pulled into a clearing at about 1130. He retired from the Air Force in 1968 with the rank of general. One thing that helped unlock those memories was a celebrity’s published account of the loss of his stepson, who had been one of their teammates (see end of story for a letter written by Jimmy Stewart about the loss of his son). Evander Holyfield, professional boxer; held Undisputed World Champion title in both cruiserweight and heavyweight divisions; known as "The Real Deal." Oct. 16 (UPI) -- A Kentucky sheriff's office said deputies responded to a Dollar General store to evict a wild bobcat found perusing the toiletries aisle. While the firefight raged around him, Lt. McLean broke cover to help one of his wounded men. At 1100, Bravo Company came across a dead NVA, probably the one shot by the team the previous day. Escaped cow found trapped on neighbor's trampoline. And none of the survivors could tell it themselves. Robert Reed, actor; best known for his role as Mike Brady on the ABC sitcom The Brady Bunch, he received Emmy nominations for his appearances in Medical Center, Rich Man, Poor Man, and Roots. The helicopters were on their way.”, But now they had the prospect of NVA coming at them from two sides. Reaching the body, Sheriff declared McLean dead. “The Claymores were no more than six feet ahead of me when the observation pilot called to let it rip,” said Lake. The official chronology records that at 1130 hours on June 8 the team fired on approaching enemy troops with unknown results. They were only 15 meters away. The sounds of foot movement, groaning wounded NVA and bodies being dragged through the brush continued throughout the following night.

In June, 1969, Lieutenant McLean took charge of a recon unit in Central Vietnam.

Sessums, watching from below, assumed Sheriff had been killed and radioed back that they now had two KIA. Sheriff motioned to See to throw a grenade. Shrapnel also blew a hole in the plastic stock of his M-16 rifle. The Marine Corps’ record of that patrol consists of a 29-line entry found in a July 10, 1969, command chronology. Oct. 15 (UPI) -- Firefighters and paramedics in Florida finished mowing a man's lawn after treating him for heat exhaustion he suffered while mowing it. When interviewed for the seminal 1970s documentary series "The World at War," he was identified as "Squadron Commander James Stewart" and spoke only of the bombing campaign.

They had to break off the rescue ­attempt. Even with the demands and distractions of movie stardom, Stewart remained committed to his patriotic service.

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