Submitted by Genal Gavaldon
UNIVERSITY PLACE – Frank Gavaldon was awarded the Warrior’s Medal of Valor from the Vietnam Dog Handler’s Association (VDHA) at their recent reunion in Branson, Missouri. The award was presented to Frank by Congressman Billy Long at the VDHA banquet.
Although Frank was advised shortly after the 1968 incident in Vietnam that he would be receiving an award, that did not take place, so he is proud that he was chosen as one of two recipients for this prestigious medal.
The VDHA was organized in 1993 by a group of six veteran war dog handlers that served during the Vietnam Conflict. One of their original goals was to search for and re-unite veteran war dog handlers and honor the memory of their war dog partners. As a result, the VDHA has grown to approximately 2000 members, with membership consisting of veteran war dog handlers and dog loving supporters of all ages and gender.
The VDHA was founded with three core objectives in mind:
- Educate the public of the accomplishments of dog handlers in the United States Armed Forces during the Vietnam Conflict and the dogs that served with them.
- Provide opportunities for the research and preparation of a detailed history of the use of dogs in the Vietnam Conflict.
- Locate and provide fellowship among dog handlers of all US Armed Services.
A report from Captain Thomas R. Snead dated May 29, 1968 (above) outlined the circumstances of the Sentry Dog incident involving Frank and Silver.