August 8, 2002                                 

Senator Joseph Lieberman RE: Robert Arnold Tillquist Medal of Honor
One Constitution Plaza
Hartford, CT  06103

                                                                                                                                                      

                                                                  

Dear Senator Lieberman,

I would like to thank you for all of your help in the past in trying to have Bob’s Distinguished Service Cross upgraded to the Medal of Honor.  I have decided to go ahead and appeal the decision of the Award’s Board and request an appeal to the Army’s Review Board. I would appreciate your help by writing a cover letter to send along with the appeal package to Ruth Meisenheimer at the Army Review Board in St. Louis, MO.

The enclosed package of information contains documentation requesting the upgrade of a decoration. It is regarding my brother, Spec E4 Robert Arnold Tillquist, who was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross-our nation’s second highest medal-posthumously in April 1966.

According to his Company Commander then, Captain Graham Avera, he received this award because ”we knew that the process of getting him this medal (the DSC) would take a shorter period of time, but he deserved the Medal of Honor.”(documentation enclosed) Bob was also awarded the Purple Heart and two medals from the Vietnamese Government. On February 2, 2002 I was presented nine awards and two written citations, in a ceremony given by The National Guard at the State Armory in Hartford. I found an error on Bob’s casualty report stating he was killed in a non-battle situation. I had this corrected by the Army Review Board. It was at this time they discovered that Bob was entitled to the awards. These awards were: the Combat Medic Badge, the Presidential Unit Citation, the Good Conduct Medal, The National Defense Service Medal with two campaign stars, the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Ribbon with 60’s device, the Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm Device, the Expert Pistol Badge, and the Sharpshooter Rifle Badge. I also received the written citations for the DSC and the Purple Heart.

Bob saved Charles C. Cox (who died that same day) and Sgt Norman Tye. He was aiding the third soldier, Spec. William D. Williams, by placing his own body over Williams while he worked on him, and was shot in the back at point blank range by an enemy machine-gun. This story is written in a book called The First Air Cavalry Division in Vietnam written by Edward Hymoff in 1967. Bob’s DSC citation says he was crawling to the aid of the third soldier when hit in the back. Radioman PFC Charlie Storms said” he took a call from the frontline saying that the medic had taken six rounds across the chest.”  The eyewitness statement from Lt William Ryan, (Bob’s Platoon Lt) and the call taken by the PFC Storms, question whether Bob was hit before he went to the aid of Spec. Williams. I have spent the last four and a half years on research, finding comrades and eyewitnesses to the actions of my brother on November 4, 1965 the day he was killed.

Senator Dodd sent my application to the Awards Board in May 2000. I received a letter from the Awards Board in May 2001 stating that Bob did not meet the criteria for the Medal of Honor and the DSC was the appropriate award. I am now appealing their decision based on new evidence from an eyewitness and endorsements received from General Harry W.O. Kinnard and Colonel Earl Ingram. This has been a labor of love on my part for my brother, who went above and beyond the call of duty to save his fellow soldiers on the frontline of a battlefield. I am hoping you would favorably endorse my request and do whatever is necessary to have this award granted. I realize the highest honor is reserved for those who exemplify the highest sacrifices. The ultimate sacrifice is life, that is what Bob gave for his country and fellow soldiers, and when you give that, there is no more to give. I will not give up my goal to have my brother receive this award, as I truly believe he deserves it. In reading the enclosed information I am hoping to find that you agree with me and make a favorable decision on behalf of a GREAT AMERICAN HERO.

I thank you in advance for your thoughtful consideration. If you are in need of additional information I can be reached at the address and phone number below.

 

Sincerely yours,

 

Jean Risley

 

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