Lawton cardiologist gets Bronze Star with ‘V’ for deeds in Vietnam
If all the world’s a stage, Dr. Richard T. Brittingham has had his share of plum roles: prominent Lawton cardiologist, commander of an Army MP Detachment, a full colonel in the Army Medical Corps, battalion surgeon with 1st Battalion, 158th Field Artillery, and state surgeon for the Oklahoma Army National Guard.
But on Friday he was back to being a lance corporal in the U.S. Marine Corps, the rank he wore during his 13 months in Vietnam in 1967-68.
Members of Fort Sill’s Marine Artillery Detachment (MARDET) assembled on their parade ground to see Brittingham receive a Bronze Star with “V” for valor, for heroic actions on Jan. 31, 1968, during the opening stages of the Tet Offensive.
Brittingham was then an MP serving voluntarily with the 282nd Combat Aviation Company, I Corps, U.S. Military Assistance Command. A determined North Vietnamese Army force attacked the district headquarters at Huong Hoa (Khe Sanh).
When duty called Brittingham took over for an injured door gunner, using an M60 machine gun to lay down suppressive fire for a helicopter delivering supplies to a besieged combat base.