Medal of Honor boostBy PHILIP MESSING
New York Post
January 2, 2012
Manhattan GI Thomas Minogue died a hero in Vietnam almost 45 years ago — and his family’s long battle to persuade the Army to award him a Congressional Medal of Honor has just taken a giant step forward.
Rep. Peter King, the Long Island congressman who chairs the Homeland Security Committee, has joined the fight.
“A very compelling case has been made that Army Private Minogue should have received the Medal of Honor,’’ King said as he promised to take it up personally with officials in the Department of Defense.
Minogue, a medic, sacrificed his life to save those of dozens of his comrades, including his gravely wounded captain, according to the Army’s own account and witnesses interviewed by The Post.
At the height of the fierce battle, some 1,000 North Vietnamese soldiers were about to overwhelm Minogue’s severely depleted unit of only 100 men.
The heroic soldier put down his medical equipment, grabbed a machine gun from a fallen soldier and helped drive off the enemy, recalled retired Maj. Raymond Pulliam.
Minogue was originally nominated for the nation’s top military honor but, for reasons never made clear, was awarded the second-highest medal, the Distinguished Service Cross.
“I will do all I can to push this forward and to find out what happened and why the Medal of Honor was denied,’’ King said.
The battle unfolded on March 21, 1967, when Minogue, who lived in Inwood and had just celebrated his 20th birthday, was on a search-and-destroy mission.
Minogue’s commanding officer, Capt. Ronald Rykowski, was hit three times, according to an Army dossier.
Hearing a call for a medic, Minogue raced through heavy fire and “purposely shielded his patient with his own body while dressing his wounds,’’ according to Army documents that supported awarding the Medal of Honor.
When his captain was hit twice more, Minogue again shielded him with his own body.
“Pfc. Minogue unhesitatingly sacrificed his own life to save the life of his company commander,” said Army Spec. John M. Mucci.
John Maloney, a former Vietnam infantryman, began researching the battle for the Minogue family a year ago.
“There were 22 American soldiers who were killed in the engagement and 47 wounded,” Maloney said.
That leaves about 30 people who weren’t hurt at all.
“And everyone who survived owes their lives to Minogue,” Maloney said.