For the ninth consecutive year, Daytona International Speedway is honored to welcome Congressional Medal of Honor recipients to the Coke Zero Sugar 400 weekend festivities.
The program actually began in 1969, when Bill France Sr. invited all surviving Medal of Honor recipients to attend the 1969 race, dubbing it the Medal of Honor Firecracker 400. A total of 100 members from 31 states attended the race with Thomas J. Kelly, the president of the Medal of Honor Society, serving as the grand marshal with the heroes flown in via military aircraft.
That proud tradition continues this year with three Congressional Medal of Honor recipients set to honored as Daytona International Speedway and race fans everywhere will pay tribute to these brave heroes that have “distinguished himself or herself conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his or her life above and beyond the call of duty.”
Command Sergeant Major Gary Littrell (Vietnam)
Place / Date: Kontum province, Republic of Vietnam, 4-8 April 1970
Date of Issue: October 15, 1973
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Sfc. Littrell, U.S. Military Assistance Command, Vietnam, Advisory Team 21, distinguished himself while serving as a Light Weapons Infantry adviser with the 23d Battalion, 2d Ranger Group, Republic of Vietnam Army, near Dak Seang. After establishing a defensive perimeter on a hill on 4 April, the battalion was subjected to an intense enemy mortar attack which killed the Vietnamese commander, one adviser, and seriously wounded all the advisers except Sfc. Littrell. During the ensuing four days, Sfc. Littrell exhibited near superhuman endurance as he singlehandedly bolstered the besieged battalion. Repeatedly abandoning positions of relative safety, he directed artillery and air support by day and marked the unit's location by night, despite the heavy, concentrated enemy fire. His dauntless will instilled in the men of the 23d Battalion a deep desire to resist. Assault after assault was repulsed as the battalion responded to the extraordinary leadership and personal example exhibited by Sfc. Littrell as he continuously moved to those points most seriously threatened by the enemy, redistributed ammunition, strengthened faltering defenses, cared for the wounded, and shouted encouragement to the Vietnamese in their own language. When the beleaguered battalion was finally ordered to withdraw, numerous ambushes were encountered. Sfc. Littrell repeatedly prevented widespread disorder by directing air strikes to within 50 meters of their position. Through his indomitable courage and complete disregard for his safety, he averted excessive loss of life and injury to the members of the battalion. The sustained extraordinary courage and selflessness displayed by Sfc. Littrell over an extended period of time were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit on him and the U.S. Army.
Be there July 7 to welcome Command Sergeant Major Littrell and our other distinguished Medal of Honor heroes to the World Center of Racing, including an autograph session inside UNOH Fanzone at 3:45 p.m. Get your UNOH Fanzone/pre-race access today!
Have a note for Command Sergeant Major Littrell? Leave a comment below!
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