1 of 4 | President Joe Biden awards the Medal of Honor to Army Specialist 5 Dennis Fujii during an event in the East Room of the White House in Washington, D.C. on July 5, 2022. Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI | License Photo
July 5 (UPI) -- President Joe Biden awarded the Medal of Honor -- the U.S. military's top honor for bravery -- to four veterans on Tuesday for their service during the Vietnam War 50 years ago.
Biden presented the medals to former Army troops Dwight Birdwell, John Duffy and Dennis Fujii during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House. The fourth, Edward Kaneshiro, received the honor posthumously.
The White House said that Kaneshiro is being honored for his actions in fighting North Vietnamese troops during a battle in 1966. He died on the battlefield in 1967.
Birdwell is being honored for his service near Saigon, which is now known as Ho Chi Minh City, in 1968. He is now an attorney in Oklahoma.
Fujii, of Hawaii, is being honored for his actions during rescue operations in Vietnam and neighboring Laos in 1971.
"Although injured, he waved off a rescue from another helicopter and remained behind as the only American on the battlefield," the White House said in a statement. "During that night and the next day, although wounded, he administered first aid to allied casualties."
Duffy will be honored for his gallantry in helping his fellow soldiers in Vietnam, even after he was wounded, in 1972.
"He refused to be evacuated. In the morning hours of April 14, after a failed effort to establish a landing zone for resupply aircraft, he moved close to enemy anti-aircraft positions to call in airstrikes and was wounded again, but still refused evacuation," the White House said.
"In the early morning of April 15, after an enemy ambush, he led evacuees, many of whom were seriously wounded, to an evacuation area, where he directed gunship fire on enemy positions and marked a landing zone for the helicopters. Only after ensuring all evacuees were aboard, did he board as well."
A military review previously concluded that all four men should receive the Medal of Honor, which is the military's top award that honors members of the Army, Air Force and Navy who distinguish themselves with acts of valor.
"Not every service member has received the full recognition they deserve," Biden said at the ceremony. "Today, we're setting the record straight.
"We are upgrading the awards of four soldiers who performed incredible acts of heroism during the Vietnam conflict. ... They have gone far above and beyond the call of duty."
Fireworks illuminate the the Washington Monument on the National Mall as people celebrate America's 246th Independence Day in Washington on July 4. Photo by Ken Cedeno/UPI | License Photo