02/22/04 — Medal of Honor recipients to attend museum event

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Medal of Honor recipients to attend museum event

By Sam Atkins
Published in News on February 22, 2004 2:01 AM

The heroism of three Metal of Honor recipients from North Carolina is captured in a new book, and the men will gather next month to sign copies and tell their stories at the Wayne County Museum.

The book, "Medal of Honor: Portraits of Valor Beyond the Call of Duty," is written by Peter Collier and includes the experiences of Medal of Honor recipients from World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.

There are only four recipients in North Carolina who are alive today, and three will be at the event, including one from Fremont. The event will be on March 13 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the museum.

Retired Col. Joe Marm, 62, is a Fremont resident and received the Medal of Honor for his acts during the Vietnam War.

He was born in Washington, Pa., and entered the service while living in Pittsburgh. He went to Vietnam in September 1965 as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army, Company A, 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division.

On Nov. 14, under the command of Lt. Col. Hal Moore, his battalion was in the Ia Dang Valley in South Vietnam when Company B came under heavy fire.

Marm's company was ordered to relieve Company B, but had to take cover because of the intense fire. Marm saw his men under siege from a concealed machine gun and deliberately exposed himself to draw its fire.

He charged the North Vietnamese and killed the enemy. While motioning his men to relieve the trapped platoon, he was shot in the left jaw. His courageous actions led to the accomplishment of the unit's mission.

This battle between the Americans and North Vietnamese troops was portrayed in the film "We Were Soldiers," starring Mel Gibson, which was based on the novel "We Were Soldiers Once and Young."

Marm received his Medal of Honor in December 1966 from Secretary of the Army Stanley Resor at the Pentagon. Marm eventually went back to Vietnam for a second tour.

He will be signing books along with two Medal of Honor recipients from Fayetteville. They are retired Cpl. Rodolfo P. "Rudy" Hernandez and Lt. Col. Gordon Roberts, who is still on active duty.

Nicholas Kehoe, president of the Medal of Honor Foundation and a retired Air Force general, will show an eight-minute video about the recipients.

The book profiles 116 of the 132 medal recipients in the country. It was published in November. The pages have descriptions of the veteran's experiences, a picture from when they served, a current picture and a short biography. All of the photos were taken by Nick Del Calzo.

The book's foreword was written by President George Bush and essays were written by Sen. John McCain and NBC newscaster Tom Brokaw.

"It's very well done," said Marm, who is a member of the Wayne County Historical Association.

He said it took a few years to develop the book, and it has been on the bestseller list for about a month. There may be a second edition in the future that would include those not featured in this one, he added.

All of the books sold at the event will go to the association.

The event is free and open to the public, and people are encouraged to come to talk to the men and hear their inspirational tales of courage.

During the event, the Wayne County Veterans and Patriots Coalition will donate to the museum a piece of the Pentagon building that came from the Sept. 11 attacks. Members of the Rosewood High School Junior ROTC will present the colors. There will be refreshments served.

For more information on the event, call the museum at 734-5023. Its hours are from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. It is at 116 N. William St. in Goldsboro.