FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
State Rep. Jaret Gibbons
Ellwood City native to receive Medal of Honor
HARRISBURG, April 17 – Ellwood City native Leslie Sabo has been awarded the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest military decoration, 42 years after he gave his life protecting fellow soldiers in the Vietnam War.
“Spc. Sabo exemplifies the best of America. With great bravery and courage he gave his live to save other solders in the 101st Airborne Division,” Gibbons said. “We are glad this day has come as many people always believed it should. Leslie Sabo is deeply deserving of this nation’s highest military honor.”
On May 10, 1970, Sabo distributed ammunition as U.S. troops battled a North Vietnamese ambush and threw himself on a wounded soldier to protect him from the blast. He also charged the enemy position to draw fire away from other wounded Americans, killing several enemy soldiers in the process.
President Obama will present the Medal of Honor to Sabo’s widow, Rose Mary Sabo-Brown, and his brother George during a ceremony at the White House on May 16.
Gibbons said he will introduce a resolution in the House honoring Sabo for his heroic actions and for receiving the Medal of Honor. A ceremony will be held later this year to unveil a marker in the Capitol Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Grove, which honors all of Pennsylvania’s Medal of Honor recipients dating back to the Civil War.
“It will serve as a reminder to future generations about the incredible honor bestowed on Spc. Sabo for his selfless acts,” Gibbons said. “All Americans, especially all of us in his hometown, are proud and humbled by his ultimate sacrifice so that others could live.”
Sabo had been recommended for the Medal of Honor shortly after the ambush, but the information was lost until 1999 when a Vietnam Veteran studying Medal of Honor recipients discovered it.
A special extension was added to federal law for Sabo because the Medal of Honor must be award within three years of a soldier’s action.
The Medal of Honor has been awarded only 256 times for actions during the Vietnam War. Sabo will be the 380th soldier from Pennsylvania to receive the Medal of Honor, and the first from Lawrence County since the Civil War.