Oklahoma Soldier To Posthumously Receive Silver Star

Saturday, September 23rd 2006, 6:13 pm
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ An Army officer from Oklahoma City who died in combat in Cambodia in 1970 is one of eight soldiers who will receive a Silver Star during a ceremony Saturday at a veterans' reunion in Kansas City, Mo.

Army 1st Lt. Robert K. ``Robin'' Henderson Jr. will receive the U.S. military's third-highest award for valor for his actions during a March 26, 1970, battle in south Vietnam, when he and other soldiers saved about 100 infantrymen from a company that was surrounded by enemy soldiers.

The rescue became known as the ``The Anonymous Battle'' after a book by that title, chronicling the rescue, was published in 1999.

``It's been a lot of years,'' said Henderson's sister, Ann Ragan of Independence, Mo. ``But it's amazing how important Robin was to everybody who still feels this bond and can't let go.''

Henderson was a platoon leader of a regiment that volunteered to try and save their fellow soldiers. He was shot in the leg during the battle but continued to direct his troops, said retired Capt. John Poindexter, who recommended Henderson for the Silver Star.

``His leadership of the platoon that led the troop's attack was an inspiration to the soldiers around him, encouraging them to continue fighting despite determined resistance by an entrenched enemy force,'' Poindexter wrote in his recommendation of Henderson.

Henderson died in combat three months later, at age 24.

He graduated from the old Classen High School in 1964 and from the University of Oklahoma in 1968. A year later, he entered the ROTC.

The military journal ``Armor'' rejected Poindexter's written account of the Vietnam battle shortly after it happened, but after almost 30 years, ``Armor'' printed his manuscript, which later was turned into the book ``The Anonymous Battle.''

Poindexter said his research revealed that ``many of the military decorations that were recommended for the troopers who fought the battle were disapproved,'' likely because of ``wartime confusion and stress.''

The 11th Armored Calvary's veterans' organizaion and Poindexter successfully campaigned to change that.

Waring said she knows she'll be emotional during the ceremony.

``We're going to blubber like idiots,'' she said. ``All the memories are going to be dredged up ... It's going to bring up the sweetness and goodness of a brother I could've lived a long life with.''