Vietnam Veteran recounts the heroic actions of fallen soldier and friend

Local News

BRANSON, Mo. — Veterans are celebrated from Nov. 5-11 every year in Branson, and this year may see more veterans visit the city. Bob Sarver is the public relations director for Branson Veterans of America 913. Sarver believes the pandemic caused many veterans to steer clear of last year’s festivities, but he is already seeing an uptick this year.

“The parade is already bigger,” said Sarver. “We got 66 positions in the parade this year compared to 50 last year.”

For a full list of scheduled events for Branson Veteran’s Week, you can visit the city’s website here.

Sarver also said the crowd for the opening ceremony this year was much bigger at the Welk Resort. Many veterans walked in the courtyard to see the Vietnam Memorial Wall, and pay their respects to fallen heroes.

One of the heroes on the Vietnam Memorial Wall is Sgt. Howard Eugene Beagle. He was a medic during the Vietnam War who gave the ultimate sacrifice. His friend and fellow Vietnam War Veteran, Larry Desmith visited the wall today and shared memories about the fallen hero.

Beagle often referred to as Jean, was serving as a medical corpsman during a search and destroy mission near Tan An. Beagle’s unit was crossing dry rice paddies and was still 200 meters from the objective when a Viet Cong force began attacking.

One soldier was wounded and Beagle raced to reach him to treat his wounds. Soon, another call for medical help was made and SPC4 Beagle ran 75 meters across the field to the new casualty. He pulled the soldier to a partially-protected position behind a rice paddy dike but was forced to shield the man’s body with his own while he treated him.

As medical evacuation helicopters arrived, Beagle again crossed the fields of fire to ensure that the wounded men were safely evacuated. As the men began to feel the effects of their strenuous exertions in the afternoon heat, Beagle assembled them and began to build a shelter out of a poncho to protect them from the sun. As he stood up to secure a corner of the shelter, Howard was shot in the neck twice. He would die on April 10, 1967.

Desmith also remembers the time when Howard rushed out to help an 8-year-old girl who was wounded. “Beagle said, I got to go out and get her, she’ll never survive out there,” said Desmith. ” Our commanding officer said ‘No, Jean, you’ll stay right here. You’ll never back it there and back alive.’ Jean said that’s my job.”

Beagle did not want to receive medals for his actions. Desmith says he pleaded to his superiors to not give him the medal of Valor and simply said give it to someone else. Beagle believed he was only doing his job and there was no need for a medal, despite putting himself in harm’s way without a second thought.

Medals, Awards and Badges

  • Distinguished Service Cross
  • Bronze Star (Merit)
  • Purple Heart
  • Army Good Conduct Medal
  • National Defense Service Medal
  • Vietnam Service Medal
  • Vietnam Campaign Medal
  • Combat Medical Badge

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