Behind the hills of Livermore, CA is a man-made lake, Lake Del Valle. I suppose it was created for irrigation purposes and perhaps to provide water to the city of Livermore and environs. It is not a wide lake, but it is long. Due to the rather dry years in California lately, the water level is down, but at this time of the year it is nearly always low.
Around Thanksgiving, I was at the lake with my friend, Ken (who I posted about previously) and as we tried (in vain!) to find a place where the fish were biting, we hiked along the western shore of the lake for some distance, trying different spots that we thought might be home to “the big one”. Well, it seems that the big one had done to some relatives house for Thanksgiving and wasn’t back yet, but it wasn’t a wasted day. It was a good day because I spent it with my friend, and also because I had taken my small Olympus point-and-shoot digital camera in case there was something worth shooting (I didn’t want to haul my Canon 7D around with all the fishing gear and I could put the Olympus in my pocket).
At one point in our sojourn, we came across a place where branches of a tree were sticking up above the water. I don’t know how long the tree had been down, but it had obviously been down for quite some time, and with the low water levels it made for an interesting shot.
ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1964, the first Medal of Honor awarded to a U.S. serviceman for action in Vietnam was presented to Capt. Roger Donlon of Saugerties, New York, for his heroic action earlier in the year.
Captain Donlon and his Special Forces team were manning Camp Nam Dong, a mountain outpost near the borders of Laos and North Vietnam. Just before two o’clock in the morning on July 6, 1964, hordes of Viet Cong attacked the camp. He was shot in the stomach, but Donlon stuffed a handkerchief into the wound, cinched up his belt, and kept fighting. He was wounded three more times, but he continued fighting–manning a mortar, throwing grenades at the enemy, and refusing medical attention.
The battle ended in early morning; 154 Viet Cong were killed during the battle. Two Americans died and seven were wounded. Over 50 South Vietnamese soldiers and Nung mercenaries were also killed during the action. Once the battle was over, Donlon allowed himself to be evacuated to a hospital in Saigon. He spent over a month there before rejoining the surviving members of his Special Forces team; they completed their six-month tour in Vietnam in November and flew home together. In a White House ceremony, with Donlon’s nine surviving team members watching, President Lyndon B. Johnson presented him with the Medal of Honor for “conspicuous gallantry, extraordinary heroism and intrepidity at the risk of his own life above and beyond the call of duty.” Donlon, justifiably proud of his team, told the president, “The medal belongs to them, too.”
TRIVIA FOR TODAY: Television’s Mr. Ed was played by a horse named Bamboo Harvester. The voice was supplied by Allan Lane.