GrandPatriot: Dick Ambrosius's "Purple Heart"

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To watch entire interview click here.

"Purple Heart"

Dick Ambrosius - US Army - Vietnam - 1970

by Rick Lingberg

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Lt. Dick Ambrosius
Tra Bong, South Vietnam - 1970

In 1959, the first two Americans were killed in the United States involvement in the Vietnam War. On April 30, 1975, the last few American still in South Vietnam were airlifted out of the country as Saigon fell to communist forces. During that time, 58,148 Americans were killed and another 304,000 wounded.

The Purple Heart is awarded in the name of the President of the United States to those wounded or killed while serving with the U.S. military. The Purple Heart differs from most other decorations in that an individual is not "recommended" for the decoration; rather he or she is entitled to it.

351,794 Purple Hearts were awarded during the Vietnam War. 192 were South Dakotans. One of them, Dick Ambrosius, is my friend and former business partner. A few minutes before midnight on September 8, 1970 his base at an outpost in Tra Bong, South Vietnam was overrun by enemy forces. The video above is his "Grand Patriot" story as told to me on March 21, 2017.



Telegram to Dick's parents 
regarding his injuries from a mortar attack.
[click the image to enlarge]


In addition to the Purple Heart, Dick was recognized with a Bronze Star for his actions on September 8, 1970.

 ...for heroism in connection with military operations against a hostile force...

The Bronze Star Medal is a United States decoration awarded to members of the United States Armed Forces for either heroic achievement, heroic service, meritorious achievement, or meritorious service in a combat zone.

George2 136
Sgt. George Ambrosius
World War II
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Lt. Dick Ambrosius
Vietnam War
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...Although wounded on his way to a bunker...

It is the fourth-highest individual military award.

...By this outstanding display of calmness and by the encouragement he gave to the wounded personnel in the bunker with him, both American and Vietnamese were rallied to help defeat the enemy...

Whenever the medal is awarded by the Army and Air Force for acts of valor in combat, the "V" Device is authorized for wear on the medal.

...Lieutenant Ambrosius, assumed the responsibility for guarding the bunker with a grenade launcher, and by the conspicuous courage he displayed during this time he caused the other wounded personnel whom he was guarding to retain their composure...

The Bronze Star runs in the Ambrosius family.  Dick's dad, Sgt. George Ambrosius was awarded two Bronze Stars while serving as General George Patton's Communications NCO in WWII.

...Lieutenant Ambrosius': manifestations of courage under most adverse conditions were of immeasurable aid and comfort to those around him...

Dick would never claim himself to be a hero, but when you consider his actions were performed with "marked loss of vision in right eye...wounds to abdomen, both legs and left arm" we can and therefore distinguish him (and his dad) as a Grand Patriots.

...First Lieutenant Ambrosius' heroic actions were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Army and reflect great credit upon himself and the military service....

 Click here to read complete Bronze Star Citation.