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Character Education: Interview with Medal of Honor Recipient Michael Thornton (Vietnam War)

Thursday, December 12, 2019 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm EST

Michael Thornton

Hosted by the Congressional Medal of Honor Society

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Plan for your class to tune in for a live interview (or watch the on-demand recording) with Medal of Honor Recipient Michael Thornton. Thornton was awarded the Medal of Honor for risking his life while participating in a daring operation against enemy forces in Vietnam. Thornton was directly responsible for saving the life of his superior officer and enabling the safe extraction of his fellow patrol members from an enemy-occupied base. Thornton, along with a U.S. Navy lieutenant, accompanied a Vietnamese Navy SEAL patrol on an intelligence gathering and prisoner capture operation against an enemy-occupied naval river base. The patrol came under heavy fire from a numerically superior force. The patrol called in support and then engaged the enemy in a fierce firefight before moving back to the waterline to prevent encirclement. Upon learning that the lieutenant had been hit by enemy fire and was believed to be dead, Thornton returned through a hail of fire and succeeded in removing the seriously wounded and unconscious man to the water’s edge. He then inflated the lieutenant’s lifejacket and towed him seaward for approximately two hours until picked up by support craft.

This edWebinar is an inspiring learning opportunity for middle and high school students to connect directly with an American hero. Interviews with Medal of Honor Recipients are part of the Medal of Honor Character Development Program, a free program that helps students build character and promotes responsible citizenship through a deeper understanding of stories of courage and sacrifice. Before the edWebinar, we encourage teachers to review Thornton’s story with their class.

You can submit students’ questions for Thornton on the registration form. You can also post students’ questions in the live chat question box during the presentation. Student attendees must view the program with their teacher. If you register, you’ll receive a link to the recording if you would like to show it to your class at another time.

 

Michael ThorntonAbout the Presenter

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while participating in a daring operation against enemy forces. PO Thornton, as Assistant U.S. Navy Advisor, along with a U.S. Navy lieutenant serving as Senior Advisor, accompanied a 3-man Vietnamese Navy SEAL patrol on an intelligence gathering and prisoner capture operation against an enemy-occupied naval river base. Launched from a Vietnamese Navy junk in a rubber boat, the patrol reached land and was continuing on foot toward its objective when it suddenly came under heavy fire from a numerically superior force. The patrol called in naval gunfire support and then engaged the enemy in a fierce firefight, accounting for many enemy casualties before moving back to the waterline to prevent encirclement. Upon learning that the Senior Advisor had been hit by enemy fire and was believed to be dead, PO Thornton returned through a hail of fire to the lieutenant’s last position; quickly disposed of two enemy soldiers about to overrun the position, and succeeded in removing the seriously wounded and unconscious Senior Naval Advisor to the water’s edge. He then inflated the lieutenant’s lifejacket and towed him seaward for approximately 2 hours until picked up by support craft. By his extraordinary courage and perseverance, PO Thornton was directly responsible for saving the life of his superior officer and enabling the safe extraction of all patrol members, thereby upholding the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.

 

About the Host

Cathy Ehlers Metcalf joined the Medal of Honor Character Development Program as Vice President of Education in 2015 after serving as a Regional Curriculum Trainer. Cathy taught college-level writing for over 33 years in Southern California. Cathy’s father was a World War II Medal of Honor Recipient. Those experiences gave Cathy a great respect for both the Medal of Honor and a passion for service to our Nation’s Veterans.

 

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The edWebinar recording will be posted to this page the day after the presentation.

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The Medal of Honor Character Development Program is a curriculum resource built on the values of courage, commitment, sacrifice, citizenship, integrity, and patriotism. Its living history videos and accompanying lessons teach students that ordinary people can meet great challenges and make the world around them a better place. Each lesson highlights skills such as writing, collaboration, and critical thinking. With two available curriculum options (elementary and secondary), the resources are appropriate for K-12 students and beyond. Assignments and activities fit efficiently into existing disciplines, time periods, and schedules.

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