On Friday, August 6, David C. Dolby passed away suddenly in Spirit Lake, Idaho at the age of 64. Childless, Mr. Dolby had lived in virtual seclusion in the town of Barto, PA since the passing of his wife in 1987. Barto is so small and insignificant the Rand McNally Atlas doesn’t even list it in its appendix. Mr. Dolby’s passing went so unnoticed that even his hometown paper didn’t acknowledge it. His passing was announced by an organization to which he belonged. Evidently most felt Mr. Dolby’s death didn’t merit any notice at all and almost nobody gave it a thought. He apparently hadn’t done anything in his life to merit any special attention.
Three days later, on Monday, August 9, Steven Slater, a childish, immature loser who up until that day had pretty much gone as unnoticed as David Dolby, threw a temper tantrum on a Jet Blue airplane at John F. Kennedy airport because his personal pet peeve is luggage that shifts during flight (or maybe it was tray tables not being in their upright and locked position). Since acting like a spoiled 16 year old, he has been featured on every major news network in the country, his face is on the front page of numerous national publications, Facebook pages have been established to “honor” him, and Mr. Slater has been called a “hero” by people we are supposed to believe know what that term means.
Only in today’s America, Mr. Slater will, in all likelihood, stretch his 15 minutes of infamy into 30 and end up making an obscene amount of money from, and revered by, some folks in our great nation who believe that Mr. Slater’s parents actually DIDN'T pollute the gene pool. He will be interviewed by Today, the Early Show, Good Morning America. He’ll appear on Leno, Conan, Letterman. He’ll become what we in America these days view as “somebody”. He’ll be given praise he doesn’t deserve and labels he never earned. He apparently has done something that merits special attention.
In the meantime, later this week a funeral service will be held at Arlington National Cemetery. There won’t be any press there, and likely only a handful of mourners who had the privilege to know David Dolby. And there will probably be a few guys there that are fellow members of the organization that announced his passing: the Congressional Medal of Honor Society.
David Charles Dolby
May 14, 1946(1946-05-14) – August 6, 2010 (aged 64)
Nickname Mad Dog
Place of birth Norristown, Pennsylvania
Place of death Spirit Lake, Idaho
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Army
Unit 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division
Battles/wars Vietnam War
Awards Medal of Honor
David Charles Dolby (May 14, 1946 – August 6, 2010) was a United States Army soldier who received the U.S. military's highest decoration, the Medal of Honor, for his actions in the Vietnam War.
Dolby was born on May 14, 1946, in Norristown, Pennsylvania. His father, Charles L. Dolby, was a personnel manager for B.F. Goodrich Company in Oaks, Pennsylvania. He had a younger brother, Daniel.
Dolby joined the Army from Philadelphia and by May 21, 1966, was serving in the Republic of Vietnam as a specialist four with Company B, 1st Battalion (Airborne), 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile). On that day, his platoon came under heavy fire which killed six soldiers and wounded a number of others, including the platoon leader. Throughout the ensuing four-hour battle, Dolby led his platoon in its defense, organized the extraction of the wounded, and directed artillery fire despite close-range attacks from enemy snipers and automatic weapons. He single-handedly attacked the hostile positions and silenced three machine guns, allowing a friendly force to execute a flank attack.
Dolby was subsequently promoted to sergeant and awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions during the battle. The medal was formally presented to him by President Lyndon B. Johnson on September 28, 1967.
In addition to the 1965–66 tour in which he earned the Medal of Honor, Dolby was deployed four more times to Vietnam. In 1967 he served there with the 101st Airborne Division, in 1969 with the 75th Ranger Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade, in 1970 as an advisor to the Vietnamese Rangers, and in 1971 as an advisor to the Royal Cambodian Army.
Dolby married but had no children. After his wife Xuan's death around 1987, he lived quietly in southeastern Pennsylvania. Over the last 20 years, Dolby attended many veterans events around the U.S. and once opened the New York Stock Exchange on Veterans Day. He most recently worked to bring attention to the neglected Medal of Honor Grove at the Freedoms Foundation in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania.
Dolby died at age 64 on the morning of August 6, 2010, while visiting Spirit Lake, Idaho, for a veterans' gathering. The cause of death has not been announced, and funeral arrangements at Arlington National Cemetery are pending.
Medal of Honor citation reads:
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty, when his platoon, while advancing tactically, suddenly came under intense fire from the enemy located on a ridge immediately to the front. Six members of the platoon were killed instantly and a number were wounded, including the platoon leader. Sgt. Dolby's every move brought fire from the enemy. However, aware that the platoon leader was critically wounded, and that the platoon was in a precarious situation, Sgt. Dolby moved the wounded men to safety and deployed the remainder of the platoon to engage the enemy. Subsequently, his dying platoon leader ordered Sgt. Dolby to withdraw the forward elements to rejoin the platoon. Despite the continuing intense enemy fire and with utter disregard for his own safety, Sgt. Dolby positioned able-bodied men to cover the withdrawal of the forward elements, assisted the wounded to the new position, and he, alone, attacked enemy positions until his ammunition was expended. Replenishing his ammunition, he returned to the area of most intense action, single-handedly killed 3 enemy machine gunners and neutralized the enemy fire, thus enabling friendly elements on the flank to advance on the enemy redoubt. He defied the enemy fire to personally carry a seriously wounded soldier to safety where he could be treated and, returning to the forward area, he crawled through withering fire to within 50 meters of the enemy bunkers and threw smoke grenades to mark them for air strikes. Although repeatedly under fire at close range from enemy snipers and automatic weapons, Sgt. Dolby directed artillery fire on the enemy and succeeded in silencing several enemy weapons. He remained in his exposed location until his comrades had displaced to more secure positions. His actions of unsurpassed valor during 4 hours of intense combat were a source of inspiration to his entire company, contributed significantly to the success of the overall assault on the enemy position, and were directly responsible for saving the lives of a number of his fellow soldiers. Sgt. Dolby's heroism was in the highest tradition of the U.S. Army
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