10:20am

Mon October 3, 2011
Kentuckians at War

Vietnam Vet Offers Advice to Medal of Honor Recipients

A Medal of Honor recipient who served during the Vietnam War has seen a lot of changes over the past 40 years.  Retired Army Command Sgt. Major Gary Littrell was awarded the military's highest honor in 1973 on the same day was eight other veterans, when President Nixon was dealing with the fallout of the Watergate investigation.

"He walked up, shook our hand, put the medal around our neck, didn't say 'Hi, how you doing' or anything. Hand shake, medal, hand shake, medal, and out the door. He had bigger fish to fry that day than Medal of Honor recipients."

The scene was much different for Marine Sgt. Dakota Meyer, who received his medal in a much-heralded presentation. Since then, he and the two other recent recipients -- Army Staff Sergeant. Sal Giunta and Sergeant Fist Class Leroy Petry -- have been inundated with requests for interviews and appearances.

Littrell, who was born in Henderson County in western Kentucky, has some advice for the younger vets: learn to make time for yourself.

"I understood later it is hard to wear because the demands are on you. And if you don't filter through some of those and learn how to say no, you'll burn yourself out. You'll live from hotel room to hotel room, suitcase to suitcase. So you have to have a life after the medal."

Littrell joined more than 50 other medal recipients in Louisville this past weekend for the Congressional Medal of Honor Society's annual convention.