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The Military Order of the Purple Heart

National Historian

Now-With SonDale Wilson was born and raised in Pasadena, Calif., but spent his high school years in Reno, Nev. He enlisted in the Army in late 1969 as an infantry and Vietnam volunteer. He arrived in Vietnam just in time to catch the final months of the NVA’s summer offensive in southern I Corps, where he served as a grenadier and later a rifleman in C Co., 1st Bn., 3d Inf., 11th Light Inf. Bde., in the Americal Division. He was lightly wounded on 3 Sept. 1970 and spent three weeks recuperating in Cam Ranh Bay before returning to his unit. In early November, he suffered a bad ankle sprain while trying to negotiate a narrow trail in the highlands east of Quang Ngai and subsequently became a combat photographer and correspondent. Patriot Wilson spent the next 15 years in a variety of assignments in the infantry, public affairs, armored cavalry and tanks before being selected to teach military history at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. Along the Then-Click to Enlargeway, he was able to complete his BA in business and journalism, OCS, and MA and Ph.D. degrees in history before retiring in the fall of 1991. He is the author of Treat ‘Em Rough!: The Birth of American Armor, 1917–20 (Novato, Calif.: Presidio, 1989), and an award-winning essay on the impact of segregation on African Americans in the military—“Recipe for Failure: Major General Edward M. Almond and the Preparation of the U.S. 92d Infantry Division for Combat in World War II”—which appeared in the July 1992 issue of the Journal of Military History, plus numerous other articles, essays, and book reviews for popular and scholarly publications. Since joining the Order in 1992, Patriot Wilson has served as a chapter commander and adjutant, department junior and senior vice commander and certified service officer, Region VI commander, and national historian. He is also a life member of the DAV, VFW, Combat Infantrymen’s Association, Vietnam Veterans Association, Military Officers of America Association, Americal Division Veterans Association and Hill 4-11 Association. In addition to the Purple Heart, Patriot Wilson has been awarded the Bronze Star, four Meritorious Service Medals, the Joint Service Commendation Medal, five Army Commendation Medals, the Army Achievement Medal and three awards of the Good Conduct Medal, as well as numerous service and campaign medals and ribbons.
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