Submitted by: Todd Van Tassell
Category: Film / Documentary
The Above and Beyond Bravery Award.
This is an event held bi annually to honor our service men and women who are true American heroes because of the sacrifices they make to their families for our country. Recipients of this prestigious award will be honored at the Testimonial dinner for the out going District Commander and will feature an awards ceremony honoring a US service member for meritorious action in combating the global war on terror as the Son’s of the American Legion “Above and Beyond Bravery Award” or a surviving family member of an American Service member who was killed in action fighting against the war on terror.
This award is to honor and recognize acts of bravery during combat operations respectively at sea, on land and in the air, for gallantry during active operations against the enemy. For a selfless and/or courageous act taken risk of their own lives with full awareness of the danger involved.
As Son’s of the American Legion, it is our duty to preserve the truths of battle and recognize these acts of bravery of our American Soldiers. WWI, WWII and Korean Conflict soldiers will be memorialized first, we are losing these soldiers at a high rate and we need take this opportunity to preserve and memorialize their stories now.
Candidates must be able to prove the acts of heroism brought forth for nomination and final voting. Proof of heroism is difficult, the candidate will have a DD214 that specifies the medal and ribbon awarded. This hero does not have to be a member of the American Legion but this veteran is asked to become a member if not a member already. Some can prove their acts with written letters, these letters must be on Department of Defense (DOD) letter head and be signed and dated by the Officer in Charge (OIC) of the operation. Another form of proof is legible photo’s of the soldier in the act of heroism/bravery.
A plaque will be commissioned in the recipients name with a list of awards, medals and ribbons. This plaque will have a picture of the service members (or immediate family members) choosing, Preferably his military picture in uniform. A brass plate will be embossed with a short story of his/her act of bravery and the operation that he/she was involved in. This plaque will be on tour throughout the Districts American Legion posts and will proudly be displayed in a conspicuous place for all to see. Each post will have this honored plaque to adorn the wall for a period of one month and at the end of each month a detail will be honored with the task of transporting the plaque to the next post and finally after this honored plaque has been recognized at each post it will make it’s way back to the soldiers home post to be on display for eternity.
Note: The soldiers entire story of his/her act of Bravery can accompany the Bravery Plaque on it’s journey and can be read as a departing or landing ceremony. This plaque will be shown all the honor and respect that you would show the actual soldier in person. It is an honor to have the memory of this Brave Soldier on our walls for all to see.
When final landing takes place:
After this soldiers tour is complete he/she will land at his/her last post. The Soldiers home post will have the honor of displaying this plaque for eternity. A Post ceremony will welcome this hero home, the post’s Son’s of the American Legion Commander will proudly salute this hero after he places the soldier at his last duty station.
About the author:
Todd Van Tassell, Adjutant for the 29th District of Pennsylvania Son's of the American Legion Son to Roger Van Tassell SSGT in the Korean Conflict, Survivor of the Chosin Resevour Massacre.