American Legion Post 227 hears from a Vietnam vet

Friday, November 10, 2017

Vice Commander Larry Fischer (right) and Sergeant at Arms Randall Kehrer (left) present a Certificate of Appreciation to Miguel Valiente after his presentation.

Text and photos by Jerry Pickard

American Legion Post 227 held its monthly meeting on Tuesday, November 7, 2017. The guest speaker was Miguel Valiente, who as a young man served in the U. S. Army's 101st Airborne Division in Vietnam known as "The Screaming Eagles". Mr. Valiente was born in Columbia and as a child his parents emigrated to New York City, New York.

  He was reassigned to the 326th Engineer Battalion.

After graduating from high school, Miguel enlisted in the U. S. Army and was trained for Infantry duty. The Army discovered that Miguel was a skilled draftsman and trained as a surveyor. These were skills that the Army desperately needed so he was pulled from the Infantry and reassigned to the 326th Engineer Battalion.

He was placed in isolation for a month while the Army ran background checks for his security clearance. After his tour was over, his neighbors asked him about why the FBI had visited them asking questions. After his clearance was granted he was sent to the Engineering Battalion to set up firebases on mountaintops.

 Some of the Firebases he helped set up in Vietnam.

The mountaintops were covered in jungle and he and his team were inserted on the summits and then a helicopter would deliver the pioneering supplies needed to remove the trees and brush. After the summit was cleared a Chinook helicopter would bring in a bulldozer to level the area and dig bunkers and defensive perimeters. He said it usually took about a week to get the firebase ready for occupation, and they had to provide their own defense during the week.

While in Vietnam Miguel was awarded The Department of Defense Medal, The Republic of Vietnam Medal, The Army Commendation Medal, Unit Citation 2 awards, and The Bronze Star Medal for valor.


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