After waiting 45 years, Monette receives Silver Star
MADISON – After a 45-year wait, Chief Warrant Officer-4 Robert ‘Bob’ Monette and his crew received the Silver Star, the military’s third-highest decoration.
Near Saigon in 1972, Monette’s Army crew in an UH-1H Huey followed a C-130 transport plane, which was on fire after a ground attack. Monette’s crew dodged bullets as they saved six men on the helicopter. Everyone survived.
“We just did what we were trained to do. We saw movement, even though we thought everyone had perished,” Monette said.
However, Monette’s crew was not recognized for their bravery. “Too often, military men and women do their jobs and go on with life. That’s basically what happened. We did the mission. Years and years later, we started getting back together and communicating with the Air Force crew we saved,” he said.
In 2005, Monette and his crew were honored at a C-130 Airlifters gathering. One Air Force employee promised to file Silver Star paperwork but became ill and died.
In 2016, Monette’s crew reunited and contacted a general about helping secure their award. One year later, the four crewmembers finally received the Silver Star. “Seven people were able to continue with their lives. They came home, got married, had children and had grandchildren,” Monette said.
“It was very humbling to be awarded the third-highest award for valor. We were blessed that the crew from F Troop, 9th Cavalry was all there for the presentation. Also, three of the U.S. Air Force C-130 crew that we rescued were in attendance,” Monette said.
Monette entered the U.S. Army in 1968 and completed Basic Training at Fort Polk, La. and Flight Training at Fort Rucker. He deployed to Viet Nam on two tours in 1969-1970 and again in 1972-1973.
His other duty stations were Fort Knox and Fort Campbell in Kentucky, Fort Rucker and in Korea.
Twelve years ago, Monette moved to Madison when CSC recruited and hired him. Today, he is consultant/owner of Training With Technology.
His wife Judith is a retired nurse. Their daughter Shelly Cote and husband Courtney of Madison have one daughter, Alexis Lovelady. Alexis is pursuing a doctorate’s degree in music.
Bob Monette is involved with North Alabama Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association. In free time, he plays golf and supports community events with the Vietnam helicopter group.