ELLWOOD CITY (KDKA) — Running out of ammo, badly wounded Army Specialist Leslie Sabo, Jr. died suppressing enemy fire, allowing a Med-Evac helicopter to lift off from a landing zone in Cambodia.
Les Sabo was 22-years-old. It was Mother’s Day, 1970.
“I wanted to remember him the way he was before he died, but it was bad,” his widow Rose Sabo Brown remembers.
Forty-two years later, Rose, will receive the Medal of Honor for her husband’s bravery. It comes with an invitation to the White House on May 16th.
She personally received a phone call from President Obama.
From the official citation, Rose will hear how Les Sabo’s Bravo Company was ambushed by the North Vietnamese, how he led repeated forays to prevent the enemy from overrunning the Americans, how her husband used his own body to shield another soldier from a grenade blast and how though seriously wounded with shrapnel, Sabo charged an enemy bunker drawing fire and retrieving ammunition from the fallen so the battle might continue.
The young soldier from Ellwood City saved a lot of lives that day.
“And anyone of them would have done what he did,” Rose said. “You know, they loved each other so much.”
Promoted to sergeant posthumously, Les Sabo was recommended for the Medal of Honor on the battlefield. The long delay was the result of lost paperwork.
“I never dreamed I wasn’t going to spend my life with him. I never dreamed it. I just knew he was gonna come home, but he didn’t,” Rose said.