On the American assault carrier OKINAWA off Danang, 43 American navy men were awarded military decorations by the South Vietnamese Government.
On the American assault carrier OKINAWA off Danang, 43 American navy men were awarded military decorations by the South Vietnamese Government. Another 314 awards were to be presented later to American sailors unable to attend the ceremony on Wednesday (October 7th).
The South Vietnamese Prime Minister, Mr Tran Thien Khiem, and members of his cabinet presented the awards. They were accompanied on board the Okinawa by the American Deputy Ambassador to South Vietnam, Mr. Colby.
Originally it was intended that President Thieu and Ambassador Ellsworth Bunker would present the awards. However, they cancelled their attendance for discussions on the eve of President Nixon's latest peace initiative for Indo-China.
The ceremony was the tenth in recent years at which American navy personnel have received South Vietnamese decorations. The highest award of the day went to Vice Admiral M. G. Weisner, the commander of the U. S. Seventh Fleet. He received the National Order of Vietnam, third class, and also the Gallantry Cross. Five other American admirals were also on the list of medal recipients.
After the ceremony, Prime Minister Khiem and his cabinet members returned to Saigon by helicopter. In a written address to mark the occasion, the American Ambassador, Ellsworth Bunker, said that the Seventh Fleet was making a major contribution to the defence of American interests in this vital part of the world.