From an email sent 1 DEC by Ted “Tex” Curtis in the CCA
Since my last email update that had questions concerning the proper protocol on the submission of Reavis’s award nomination I have spoken several times to personnel in the office of The Secretary of the Army and influential personnel in US Army Human Recourses Command.
Both of those offices were very willing to be of assistance and I have no reason to believe that I did not receive the most truthful and accurate information and answers those offices could provide. However, some of what I was told I do not necessarily agree with………..but, it is important that we understand what was said and how people in those offices today perceive and understand how things were in 1966 and how that perception will be applied to Reavis’s case today. It is these ground rules in which Reavis’s application for review will be received.
There is 99% certainty that the original award was, in fact, a submission for the MOH because the announcement of a DSC award came from the Dept of the Army in DC, not the US Army command in Vietnam. To those involved in these matters, this distinction means the award went thru channels to the Secretary of the Army, not just the Commander in Vietnam. All MOH submissions must go, with recommendations, to SecArmy. This fact is important because it is “easier” and more “proper” to have an original MOH submission reviewed favorably that a total upgrade request never submitted for the MOH.
I was told that any MOH submission would have had to have sworn statements from more than 2 eyewitness’s privy to the actions Reavis took that day. If not, when the submission reached the army review board they would have sent for more detail, etc. Sworn statements and 2 eyewitness’s are requirements. While I know for a fact that none of the eyewitness’s made sworn statements and that the key person, Sp Counts (shielded by Reavis) never was asked to make a statement other than the interview to Cpt Ogrady in the hospital, I would argue at the new review board hearing that the requirement had been met in 1966 because the review board made its recommendation and passed it to SecArmy having found all requirements had been met.
I never did receive a definitive answer to my question: why are all the documents associated with the award now missing? I questioned why the doc’s for an award that was submitted for the nations highest honor and reached the desk of SecArmy and then “downgraded” to a DSC would not be preserved, either to defend the action, or to review it again later? The answers ranged from “sloppiness” to “bad management” and “maybe they are still in some file”. That is why you-all funded the professional researcher. His final report defining his search will be very important (BTW, he is still searching and I have sent him a document from office of the Adjutant General that has stamped dates and offices on it reflecting a process thru the chain-of-command). Assuming nothing is found an argument can be made that the Review Board never received all the detail necessary to make an informed decision——-which I happen to believe!
Only the Sec Army can “downgrade” a MOH award. The process/chain-of-command to get to the Sec Army can only make recommendations. So, it is possible Reavis could have reached the Sec Army with recommendation to approve the MOH submission and the Sec Army downgraded the award to DSC, or (more likely) the Review Board sent a recommendation to downgrade to SecArmy. My belief is that Col Cambell misrepresented the facts in the original submission and that intentional misrepresentation carried thru to the Review Board——-who never had much detail and did not have the resources available to track down the eyewitness’s for clarification——who merely concurred with Col Cambell because it was too difficult to contradict him. After all, so goes the reasoning……..noone will ever know the details and the DSC is a high honor anyway.
Current status: Awaiting an appointment for Lt Gen Shuler and myself to see General Walters at The Citadel before Christmas Furlough. Awaiting another report (maybe final report) from the researcher. I assume our initial payment of fees is still good as I have heard nothing from him for more.
After both items above are completed and analysed it will be time to take stock of the situation and proceed with a plan forward. I assume information such as this goes out to all Class of 1959 to keep them involved and apprised of the situation?