Clarence E. Sasser, who was presented the Medal of Honor in 1969 for his service in Vietnam and subsequently attended Texas A&M University on a scholarship offered by then President James Earl Rudder, will have his name and likeness added to the university’s Medal of Honor Hall of Honor.
A recognition ceremony is planned for Nov. 7 at 2 p.m. in the Bethancourt Ballroom in the Memorial Student Center. The program is scheduled to include remarks by Sasser and several other notable speakers, including Judge Willie E.B. Blackmon, a 1973 Texas A&M graduate and recipient of the university’s distinguished alumnus award. Blackmon and Lt. Gen. Joe Weber USMC (Ret.), the university’s vice president for student affairs, spearheaded the effort to honor Sasser, with the full support of University President R. Bowen Loftin.
“On behalf of the entire Aggie community, I welcome Clarence Sasser back to campus to give us this opportunity to honor him for his heroic service to our nation—and for all of us, particularly our students, to be able to personally say ‘thank you’,” Loftin said.
Weber, a 1972 Texas A&M graduate, cited the significance of the upcoming ceremony to honor Sasser, for which his office will coordinate the program.
“November 7, 2013 is going to be yet another historic day on the campus of Texas A&M University. Clarence Sasser, an African-American former student and Medal of Honor recipient from the Vietnam War, will take his place among seven other Aggies who have been previously recognized for their courage, sacrifice and the highest level of service and action one could render to this nation,” Gen. Weber noted. “The inclusion and acceptance of Clarence and his Medal of Honor into our Medal of Honor Hall of Honor is fitting, proper and long overdue.
“Texas A&M University is both honored and privileged to ensure that his sacrifice will never be forgotten, and that his Medal of Honor and associated citation will be housed and protected in perpetuity on this campus within the hallowed halls of our Memorial Student Center,” the general added.
Also, he thanked the student body, the faculty, staff, administration and The Association of Former Students “for their overwhelming support in making this event a reality.”
Sasser, who now lives in Rosharon, Texas, was a private in the 3rd Battalion, 60th Infantry Regiment, 9th Infantry Division in Vietnam at the time he performed his heroic actions that resulted in him receiving the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest award for valor in combat.
Texas A&M presently has seven Aggies whose names and likenesses grace the specially designated Medal of Honor Hall of Honor section in the Memorial Student Center. All seven of them received Medals of Honor—including five posthumously for service in World War II.
On Jan. 10, 1968, Sasser, an Army medic, was helping evacuate soldiers wounded in a helicopter crash in a flooded rice paddy. While under fire, he carried one of the wounded to cover and returned for more. Sasser continued to help his fellow soldiers despite running out of supplies and sustaining wounds in both his legs.
In an interview in 1968, Sasser was asked if he waded into the marsh to get all the wounded. “Everyone that I could,” he replied, “whether or not I had medical supplies. If they called, I went after them.”
Following his military service, he enrolled at Texas A&M as a chemistry major in August 1969. Like some of the other Aggie recipients of the Medal of Honor, he did not graduate from Texas A&M, but university officials say Sasser embodies all that the Hall of Honor represents.
They add that generations of Aggies will have an opportunity to learn about Sasser’s courage, along with the other seven Medal of Honor recipients who have served the nation with distinction. Like the others, Sasser’s name, likeness and a brief description of the reason he was presented the Medal of Honor will hang in the Hall of Honor for all to see.
The event is planned during a week-long campus celebration to honor all veterans on Veteran’s Day, Nov. 11, and also is part of the university’s semester-long 50 Years of Inclusion” program.
The program is free and open to the public. Individuals desiring to attend should RSVP here.
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