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Friends: Vietnam Veteran Worthy of Medal of Honor
Photo: Mike Orazzi/Bristol Press
(The following article was published in The New Britain Herald/Bristol Press on July 9, 2016.)

By Brian M. Johnson, Staff Writer

SOUTHINGTON — For 20 years, former Town Council member Art Secondo has been working with Earle Jackson, of Plainville, to get a Medal of Honor for Bristol resident John Hogan’s remarkable service in Vietnam.

Hogan served in Vietnam from 1966 to 1974. He began in the 101st Airborne Division and served there for two tours before returning to the U.S. to further his knowledge at flight school.
When he later returned to Vietnam, he served with the 25th Infantry Division’s First Aviation Brigade as a helicopter pilot.

“It was something that I volunteered to do,” said Hogan. “I didn’t enjoy it. It was combat, it was scary, but with the passage of time things have gotten better. I still think about Vietnam every day and the people that were there with me and I still don’t like fireworks. I did my job and I’m quite proud of it, but it’s in the past. I went down with my family to see the wall in Washington, D.C. It was quite moving, but I shed a few tears and let it go. I came home alive. A lot of guys didn’t.”

When he left the service, Hogan was a first lieutenant and had earned the Distinguished Service Cross, the Bronze Star Medal, the Air Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, three Purple Hearts, the Good Conduct Medal, the Vietnam Service Metal for five campaigns, the Vietnam Gallantry Cross, the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Parachutist Badge and the Army Aviation Badge.

The following is an excerpt from Capt. David Korponai’s letter sent July 13 1967 to award Hogan with his Bronze Star:

“While in an ambush position, Specialist Hogan observed an enemy element enter the killing zone of the ambush. Shortly after the ambush was triggered Specialist Hogan was wounded by grenade fragments. With complete disregard for his own safety, Specialist Hogan refused medical aid and remained exposed to the murderous enemy fire while firing his machine gun until the enemy unit had been destroyed.”

The following is an excerpt from the announcement of Hogan being awarded with a Distinguished Service Cross in May 1967:

“… Hogan distinguished himself. .. while serving as a fire team leader of an airborne infantry platoon on combat operations near Duc Pho. While moving along a ridgeline, his company was heavily attacked by a well entrenched Viet Cong force firing automatic weapons. Seeing a wounded comrade trapped in the open, Specialist Hogan dashed from the rear of the column under a hail of enemy bullets and dragged the man to safety. Grabbing several hand grenades, he charged through the fire now concentrated on him and destroyed one enemy bunker. Heedless of the bullets striking all around him he charged another bunker and killed the defenders with another hand grenade. He saw a wounded comrade nearby and quickly began carrying him to safety under a barrage of fire. A Viet Cong soldier stood up to fire on him, but he grabbed the wounded man’s rifle and killed the insurgent with a deadly burst of fire. After moving the man to the perimeter, he ignored his own safety to grab his rifle and more grenades and again assault the fortifications singlehandedly. Firing furiously, he destroyed another bunker with well-placed grenades. Shouting for his fire team to follow, he quickly knocked out another bunker and moved inside to pick up enemy weapons. Leading his men in a fierce charge, he swept through the hostile positions and aided in destroying four more Viet Cong fortifications.”

Hogan said that when he saw a wounded comrade he “popped.”

“Our unit was all very tight,” he said. “I saw three or four guys were hit and severely wounded and I just popped. It wasn’t a matter of courage, I didn’t even think of that. I just knew I needed to help my buddy, so that’s what I did. It wasn’t planned.”

Hogan said returning home after the war was a difficult transition.

“I was very used to the Army, but I didn’t have the education to stay in as an officer,” he said. “People did not treat us well in general when we returned home. For some reason, Vietnam veterans didn’t get the respect or support that they should have. A lot of guys were spat upon and had a lot of nasty things done to them. I never ran into any of that, but I did run into some people running their mouths. It was easy enough to take care of that. I didn’t put up with any crap from anyone.”

Hogan said the last member from his unit that he had remained in contact with died recently.

He has chosen not to become a member of veterans’ groups and doesn’t often speak of his service. Hogan said that his father, who served as a Marine in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam, ingrained “a lot of values” in him including “to not being a braggart.”

“People see what you do and you get what you earn is what he would tell me,” said Hogan.

Hogan first met Jackson, who served three tours in Vietnam as a medic, on the golf course. The two became fast friends and later participated in the Golden Kielbasa Veterans’ Open in Farmington.

“Once we started playing together, Earl would get very excited about my service,” said Hogan. “He sometimes embarrassed me when he brought it up in front of others.”

“What we’re looking for is to have someone look at what he has done,” said Jackson, who served as a combat medic and a paratrooper with the 173rd Airborne Brigade from 1965 to 1968, serving in Vietnam from 1967 to 1968. “John is a born warrior. What he did was phenomenal. Every single military person, without exception, who has read his citations has said that he deserved the Medal of Honor.”

Through Jackson, Hogan also met Secondo, who has worked with Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve Chairman Tom Pandolfi to try to get Hogan the recognition they feel he deserves.

“Looking at his record, it’s obvious that this man deserves commendation from Washington,” said Secondo. “It’s just astounding what he did. The Vietnam War was a tough war, and those that fought in it, especially those on the front lines, deserve a lot of credit for what they did.”

“People read my citations and I get a lot of praise,” said Hogan. “It’s not easy to accept. I do want the Medal of Honor and I’m very appreciative that Earl and the others have invested so much time in me.”

Hogan has traveled to Washington, D.C. to speak with the secretary of defense and has also visited Sen. Chris
Murphy and Sen. Richard Blumenthal to request that his case be re-considered, but says that he feels like he is getting nowhere.

“I’ve told Earl and the others to leave it alone, but they always start back up again,” said Hogan. “We’ll see what happens.”

“The key is that we need legislative support from our local senators and congressmen,” said Jackson. “We need them behind us to help cut through the red tape and we have been trying for years.”

This year, the Connecticut Department of Veterans’ Affairs will be hosting an event Oct. 8 at 1 p.m. where a
Connecticut War Medal will be presented to anyone who served in Vietnam.

For more information, call 860-832-2977.
GTON — For 20 years, former Town Council member Art Secondo has been working with Earl Jackson, of Plainville, to get a Medal of Honor for Bristol resident John Hogan’s remarkable service in Vietnam.
Hogan served in Vietnam from 1966 to 1974. He began in the 101st Airborne Division and served there for two tours before returning to the U.S. to further his knowledge at flight school.
When he later returned to Vietnam, he served with the 25th Infantry Division’s First Aviation Brigade as a helicopter pilot.
“It was something that I volunteered to do,” said Hogan. “I didn’t enjoy it. It was combat, it was scary, but with the passage of time things have gotten better. I still think about Vietnam every day and the people that were there with me and I still don’t like fireworks. I did my job and I’m quite proud of it, but it’s in the past. I went down with my family to see the wall in Washington, D.C. It was quite moving, but I shed a few tears and let it go. I came home alive. A lot of guys didn’t.”
When he left the service, Hogan was a first lieutenant and had earned the Distinguished Service Cross, the Bronze Star Medal, the Air Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, three Purple Hearts, the Good Conduct Medal, the Vietnam Service Metal for five campaigns, the Vietnam Gallantry Cross, the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Parachutist Badge and the Army Aviation Badge.
The following is an excerpt from Capt. David Korponai’s letter sent July 13 1967 to award Hogan with his Bronze Star:
“While in an ambush position, Specialist Hogan observed an enemy element enter the killing zone of the ambush. Shortly after the ambush was triggered Specialist Hogan was wounded by grenade fragments. With complete disregard for his own safety, Specialist Hogan refused medical aid and remained exposed to the murderous enemy fire while firing his machine gun until the enemy unit had been destroyed.”
The following is an excerpt from the announcement of Hogan being awarded with a Distinguished Service Cross in May 1967:
“… Hogan distinguished himself. .. while serving as a fire team leader of an airborne infantry platoon on combat operations near Duc Pho. While moving along a ridgeline, his company was heavily attacked by a well entrenched Viet Cong force firing automatic weapons. Seeing a wounded comrade trapped in the open, Specialist Hogan dashed from the rear of the column under a hail of enemy bullets and dragged the man to safety. Grabbing several hand grenades, he charged through the fire now concentrated on him and destroyed one enemy bunker. Heedless of the bullets striking all around him he charged another bunker and killed the defenders with another hand grenade. He saw a wounded comrade nearby and quickly began carrying him to safety under a barrage of fire. A Viet Cong soldier stood up to fire on him, but he grabbed the wounded man’s rifle and killed the insurgent with a deadly burst of fire. After moving the man to the perimeter, he ignored his own safety to grab his rifle and more grenades and again assault the fortifications singlehandedly. Firing furiously, he destroyed another bunker with well-placed grenades. Shouting for his fire team to follow, he quickly knocked out another bunker and moved inside to pick up enemy weapons. Leading his men in a fierce charge, he swept through the hostile positions and aided in destroying four more Viet Cong fortifications.”
Hogan said that when he saw a wounded comrade he “popped.”
“Our unit was all very tight,” he said. “I saw three or four guys were hit and severely wounded and I just popped. It wasn’t a matter of courage, I didn’t even think of that. I just knew I needed to help my buddy, so that’s what I did. It wasn’t planned.”
Hogan said returning home after the war was a difficult transition.
“I was very used to the Army, but I didn’t have the education to stay in as an officer,” he said. “People did not treat us well in general when we returned home. For some reason, Vietnam veterans didn’t get the respect or support that they should have. A lot of guys were spat upon and had a lot of nasty things done to them. I never ran into any of that, but I did run into some people running their mouths. It was easy enough to take care of that. I didn’t put up with any crap from anyone.”
Hogan said the last member from his unit that he had remained in contact with died recently.
He has chosen not to become a member of veterans’ groups and doesn’t often speak of his service. Hogan said that his father, who served as a Marine in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam, ingrained “a lot of values” in him including “to not being a braggart.”
“People see what you do and you get what you earn is what he would tell me,” said Hogan.
Hogan first met Jackson, who served three tours in Vietnam as a medic, on the golf course. The two became fast friends and later participated in the Golden Kielbasa Veterans’ Open in Farmington.
“Once we started playing together, Earl would get very excited about my service,” said Hogan. “He sometimes embarrassed me when he brought it up in front of others.”
“What we’re looking for is to have someone look at what he has done,” said Jackson, who served as a combat medic and a paratrooper with the 173rd Airborne Brigade from 1965 to 1968, serving in Vietnam from 1967 to 1968. “John is a born warrior. What he did was phenomenal. Every single military person, without exception, who has read his citations has said that he deserved the Medal of Honor.”
Through Jackson, Hogan also met Secondo, who has worked with Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve Chairman Tom Pandolfi to try to get Hogan the recognition they feel he deserves.
“Looking at his record, it’s obvious that this man deserves commendation from Washington,” said Secondo. “It’s just astounding what he did. The Vietnam War was a tough war, and those that fought in it, especially those on the front lines, deserve a lot of credit for what they did.”
“People read my citations and I get a lot of praise,” said Hogan. “It’s not easy to accept. I do want the Medal of Honor and I’m very appreciative that Earl and the others have invested so much time in me.”
Hogan has traveled to Washington, D.C. to speak with the secretary of defense and has also visited Sen. Chris Murphy and Sen. Richard Blumenthal to request that his case be re-considered, but says that he feels like he is getting nowhere.
“I’ve told Earl and the others to leave it alone, but they always start back up again,” said Hogan. “We’ll see what happens.”
“The key is that we need legislative support from our local senators and congressmen,” said Jackson. “We need them behind us to help cut through the red tape and we have been trying for years.”
This year, the Connecticut Department of Veterans’ Affairs will be hosting an event Oct. 8 at 1 p.m. where a Connecticut War Medal will be presented to anyone who served in Vietnam.
For more information, call 860-832-2977.
(The following article about GK 2016 honoree John Hogan was published in The New Britain Herald/Bristol Press on July 9, 2016.)

By Brian M. Johnson, Staff Writer

SOUTHINGTON — For 20 years, former Town Council member Art Secondo has been working with Earl Jackson, of Plainville, to get a Medal of Honor for Bristol resident John Hogan’s remarkable service in Vietnam.

Hogan served in Vietnam from 1966 to 1974. He began in the 101st Airborne Division and served there for two tours before returning to the U.S. to further his knowledge at flight school.

When he later returned to Vietnam, he served with the 25th Infantry Division’s First Aviation Brigade as a helicopter pilot.

“It was something that I volunteered to do,” said Hogan. “I didn’t enjoy it. It was combat, it was scary, but with the passage of time things have gotten better. I still think about Vietnam every day and the people that were there with me and I still don’t like fireworks. I did my job and I’m quite proud of it, but it’s in the past. I went down with my family to see the wall in Washington, D.C. It was quite moving, but I shed a few tears and let it go. I came home alive. A lot of guys didn’t.”

When he left the service, Hogan was a first lieutenant and had earned the Distinguished Service Cross, the Bronze Star Medal, the Air Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, three Purple Hearts, the Good Conduct Medal, the Vietnam Service Metal for five campaigns, the Vietnam Gallantry Cross, the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Parachutist Badge and the Army Aviation Badge.

The following is an excerpt from Capt. David Korponai’s letter sent July 13 1967 to award Hogan with his Bronze Star:

“While in an ambush position, Specialist Hogan observed an enemy element enter the killing zone of the ambush. Shortly after the ambush was triggered Specialist Hogan was wounded by grenade fragments. With complete disregard for his own safety, Specialist Hogan refused medical aid and remained exposed to the murderous enemy fire while firing his machine gun until the enemy unit had been destroyed.”

The following is an excerpt from the announcement of Hogan being awarded with a Distinguished Service Cross in May 1967:

“… Hogan distinguished himself. .. while serving as a fire team leader of an airborne infantry platoon on combat operations near Duc Pho. While moving along a ridgeline, his company was heavily attacked by a well entrenched Viet Cong force firing automatic weapons. Seeing a wounded comrade trapped in the open, Specialist Hogan dashed from the rear of the column under a hail of enemy bullets and dragged the man to safety. Grabbing several hand grenades, he charged through the fire now concentrated on him and destroyed one enemy bunker. Heedless of the bullets striking all around him he charged another bunker and killed the defenders with another hand grenade. He saw a wounded comrade nearby and quickly began carrying him to safety under a barrage of fire. A Viet Cong soldier stood up to fire on him, but he grabbed the wounded man’s rifle and killed the insurgent with a deadly burst of fire. After moving the man to the perimeter, he ignored his own safety to grab his rifle and more grenades and again assault the fortifications singlehandedly. Firing furiously, he destroyed another bunker with well-placed grenades. Shouting for his fire team to follow, he quickly knocked out another bunker and moved inside to pick up enemy weapons. Leading his men in a fierce charge, he swept through the hostile positions and aided in destroying four more Viet Cong fortifications.”

Hogan said that when he saw a wounded comrade he “popped.”

“Our unit was all very tight,” he said. “I saw three or four guys were hit and severely wounded and I just popped. It wasn’t a matter of courage, I didn’t even think of that. I just knew I needed to help my buddy, so that’s what I did. It wasn’t planned.”

Hogan said returning home after the war was a difficult transition.

“I was very used to the Army, but I didn’t have the education to stay in as an officer,” he said. “People did not treat us well in general when we returned home. For some reason, Vietnam veterans didn’t get the respect or support that they should have. A lot of guys were spat upon and had a lot of nasty things done to them. I never ran into any of that, but I did run into some people running their mouths. It was easy enough to take care of that. I didn’t put up with any crap from anyone.”

Hogan said the last member from his unit that he had remained in contact with died recently.

He has chosen not to become a member of veterans’ groups and doesn’t often speak of his service. Hogan said that his father, who served as a Marine in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam, ingrained “a lot of values” in him including “to not being a braggart.”

“People see what you do and you get what you earn is what he would tell me,” said Hogan.

Hogan first met Jackson, who served three tours in Vietnam as a medic, on
the golf course. The two became fast friends and later participated in the Golden Kielbasa Veterans’ Open in Farmington.

“Once we started playing together, Earl would get very excited about my service,” said Hogan. “He sometimes embarrassed me when he brought it up in front of others.”

“What we’re looking for is to have someone look at what he has done,” said Jackson, who served as a combat medic and a paratrooper with the 173rd Airborne Brigade from 1965 to 1968, serving in Vietnam from 1967 to 1968. “John is a born warrior. What he did was phenomenal. Every single military person, without exception, who has read his citations has said that he deserved the Medal of Honor.”

Through Jackson, Hogan also met Secondo, who has worked with Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve Chairman Tom Pandolfi to try to get Hogan the recognition they feel he deserves.

“Looking at his record, it’s obvious that this man deserves commendation from Washington,” said Secondo. “It’s just astounding what he did. The Vietnam War was a tough war, and those that fought in it, especially those on the front lines, deserve a lot of credit for what they did.”

“People read my citations and I get a lot of praise,” said Hogan. “It’s not easy to accept. I do want the Medal of Honor and I’m very appreciative that Earl and the others have invested so much time in me.”

Hogan has traveled to Washington, D.C. to speak with the secretary of
defense and has also visited Sen. Chris Murphy and Sen. Richard Blumenthal to request that his case be re-considered, but says that he feels like he is getting nowhere.

“I’ve told Earl and the others to leave it alone, but they always start back up again,” said Hogan. “We’ll see what happens.”

“The key is that we need legislative support from our local senators and congressmen,” said Jackson. “We need them behind us to help cut through the red tape and we have been trying for years.”

This year, the Connecticut Department of Veterans’ Affairs will be hosting an event Oct. 8 at 1 p.m. where a Connecticut War Medal will be presented to anyone who served in Vietnam.

For more information, call 860-832-2977.

John Hogan, U.S. Army 1966-1974
Vietnam Vet, Distinguished Service Cross

(Distinguished Service Cross Citation presented to John Hogan, October 22, 1967)


The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross to John Hogan (RA12761145), Specialist Fourth Class, U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations involving conflict with an armed hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam, while serving with Company C, 2d Battalion (Airborne), 502d Infantry, 1st Brigade, 101st Airborne Division. Specialist Four Hogan distinguished himself by exceptionally valorous actions on 18 May 1967 while serving as fire team leader of an airborne infantry platoon on combat operations near Duc Pho. While moving along a ridge line, his company was heavily attacked by a well-entrenched Viet Cong force firing automatic weapons. Seeing a wounded comrade trapped in the open, Specialist Hogan dashed from the rear of the column under a hail of enemy bullets and dragged the man to safety. Grabbing several hand grenades, he charged through the fire now concentrated on him and destroyed one enemy bunker. Heedless of the bullets striking all around him, he charged another bunker and killed the defenders with another hand grenade. He saw a wounded comrade nearby and quickly began carrying him to safety under a barrage of fire. A Viet Cong soldier stood up to fire on him, but he grabbed the wounded man's rifle and killed the insurgent with a deadly burst of fire. After moving the man to the perimeter, he ignored his own safety to grab his rifle and more grenades and again assault the fortifications single-handedly. Firing furiously, he destroyed another bunker with well-placed grenades. Shouting to his fire team to follow, he quickly knocked out another bunker and moved inside to pick up enemy weapons. Leading his men in a fierce charge, he swept through the hostile positions and aided in destroying four more Viet Cong fortifications. Specialist Four Hogan's extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.

Headquarters, US Army, Vietnam, General Orders No. 5387 (October 22, 1967)


Photo: Mike Orazzi/Bristol Press