Legislation introduced to posthumously grant Medal of Honor to Miamisburg man killed in Vietnam War

Sgt. Gary Lee McKiddy saved a fellow soldier’s life during the Vietnam War 53 years ago when he dragged him to safety from a burning helicopter and sacrificed his own life trying to save another.

But in the 53 years since the 20-year-old Miamisburg man’s sacrifice, he hasn’t received the Medal of Honor, the highest military decoration for valor in action against an enemy force that can be bestowed upon a service member of the United States Armed Forces.

U.S. senators Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, J.D. Vance, R-Ohio, Debbie Stabenow, D-Michigan and Gary Peters, D-Michagan are working to change that. On Thursday, the lawmakers introduced legislation that would enable the president to posthumously honor McKiddy with the award.



Current law prevents the award since the application for the Medal of Honor was not submitted prior to the expiration of the statutory time limit in October 1975. This legislation would waive the statutory time limit and request the President award Sgt. McKiddy the Medal of Honor.

McKiddy, a 1968 Miamisburg High School graduate, was a helicopter crew chief and door gunner with the 1st Cavalry Division in Vietnam. On May 6, 1970, at age 20 in Cambodia, his helicopter came under intense enemy fire causing it to crash. The sergeant survived the crash and was thrown free of the wreckage.

Returning to the burning aircraft, McKiddy pulled fellow soldier Spc. Jim Skaggs to safety, then attempted to rescue the pilot, Warrant Officer Tommy Whiddon, from the chopper but the aircraft’s fuel cells exploded, killing both men.

McKiddy was posthumously awarded the Silver Star, the Bronze Star Medal, the Air Medal, the Purple Heart, and the Good Conduct Medal for his actions that day, but never the Medal of Honor.

Legislation approved last year officially named Ohio 725 between South Union Road and Soldier Home Road in Montgomery County as “the Sgt. Gary Lee McKiddy Memorial Highway.”

McKiddy made “the ultimate sacrifice for our nation,” Brown said.

“His selfless act exemplifies his leadership and commitment to his fellow troops,” he said in a release. ‘Sergeant McKiddy was a true American hero and the ... Medal of Honor is long overdue.”

Vance said McKiddy was “a true American hero.”

“At just 20 years old, he laid down his life to save the lives of others,” Vance said in a release. “He embodied the greatest virtues of our nation’s armed services and is deserving of our highest military honor.”

Reached with the news Thursday afternoon, Rick McKiddy, one of Gary McKiddy’s brothers, choked back tears of joy.

“That is pretty awesome,” he said.

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