|Douglas H. Wheelock, Photo credit: NASA|
After six months in space and 63 million miles later, NASA astronaut Douglas H. Wheelock returned Vietnam veteran and Medal of Honor recipient, Sgt. Lester R. Stone Jr’s, Medal of Honor which he carried with him aboard the International Space Station.
Wheelock, who was born in the same city as Sgt. Stone, returned the medal to Doris Stone, mother of Sgt. Stone during a military-style ceremony at a presentation to elementary and middle school students in Harpursville, NY.
Sgt. Stone was killed in action west of Landing Zone Liz, Republic of Vietnam, on March 3, 1969 when he was 21 years old.
|Sgt. Lester R. Stone Jr.|
Stone joined the Army from Syracuse, New York, and was serving as a Sergeant in 1st Platoon, Company B, 1st Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment, 11th Infantry Brigade, 23d Infantry Division (Americal). On that day, west of Landing Zone Liz in the Republic of Vietnam, he manned a machine gun from an exposed position during an intense enemy attack, allowing others to rescue a wounded comrade.
The Medal of Honor was given to Stone’s parents and sister by President Richard Nixon at a White House ceremony on April 7, 1970. Wheelock carried the Medal of Honor during Expeditions 24 and 25 to the space station in 2010 as a tribute to Stone.
Photo caption: NASA astronaut Douglas Wheelock sends a Fourth of July message to the United States and poses with the Congressional Medal of Honor awarded to the late Lester Stone, an Army sergeant killed in action during the Vietnam War, on July 4, 2010.