These are the words of 2nd Lt. Billy Walkabout, a Cherokee of the Blue Holly Clan.
Walkabout served as an Army Ranger in Vietnam, in the Company F, 58th Infantry, 101st Airborne Division. Walkabout (then Specialist Four) distinguished himself on 20 November 1968 during a long range reconnaissance patrol southwest of Hue.
After successfully ambushing an enemy squad on a jungle trail, the friendly patrol radioed for immediate helicopter extraction. When the extraction helicopters arrived and the lead man began moving toward the pick-up zone, he was seriously wounded by hostile automatic weapons fire. Sergeant Walkabout quickly rose to his feet and delivered steady suppressive fire on the attackers while other team members pulled the wounded man back to their ranks. Sergeant Walkabout then administered first aid to the soldier in preparation for medical evacuation. As the man was being loaded onto the evacuation helicopter, enemy elements again attacked the team.
Maneuvering under heavy fire, Sergeant Walkabout positioned himself where the enemy were concentrating their assault and placed continuous rifle fire on the adversary. A command-detonated mine ripped through the friendly team, instantly killing three men and wounding all the others. Although stunned and wounded by the blast, Sergeant Walkabout rushed from man to man administering first aid, bandaging one soldier’s severe chest wound and reviving another soldier by heart massage. He then coordinated gunship and tactical air strikes on the enemy’s positions. When evacuation helicopters arrived again, he worked single-handedly under fire to board his disabled comrades. Only when the casualties had been evacuated and friendly reinforcements had arrived, did he allow himself to be extracted.
His bravery for this and other actions earned him 1 Distinguished Service Cross, 5 Silver Stars, 10 Bronze Stars (5 with V Device) and 6 Purple hearts; making him one of the most decorated Native American soldier of the Vietnam War; retiring as a 2nd Lt.
He died in 2007 at the age of 57 due to Agent Orange.