A short story by Leo E. Hill
RE: Captain Daniel Severson
My name is Leo Hill. I served under your father in Viet Nam in 1967 with B
co. 4th Bat. 503rd Airborne. Your father was my company commander. I would
like to relate a story about your Dad that you may have never heard. His
action motivated me not just in Viet Nam but for the last 40 years.
I was sent to Viet Nam in May of 1967. I was assigned to Captain Severson B
Co. 4th Bat. 503. I had been a paratrooper for two years in the 82nd
Airborne. I thought I was ready for war, ready for Viet Nam and thought I
It was July 6th 1967 about 7am in the middle of the jungle, a place called
Dak To. My platoon Sgt. Cates told me to report to the Commander (your dad).
I was told I would be on a chopper in 15 minutes to go back to the rear area
to compete for the soldier of the month. When I arrived at the rear area, I
had about two hours to prepare for the competition. I went to supply to get
a clean uniform and a new pair of boots. I also needed to brush up on some
military stuff. The competition was about three quarters through when a Sgt.
came in and called my name. He said that my company had been hit bad and he
needed me to come and identify wounded and dead. The medic put your dad on
the table in the med tent. The doctor ripped open his shirt and pants and
stated that he was one of the worst wounded. I identified your dad. I saw
holes in his stomach and chest. He layed there very still and I didn't know
if he was dead or alive. A Catholic Priest came over to him and started to
give him the Last Rites. It was at that moment I learned what "tough" really
was. Your dad sat straight up and told Chaplin Walters that he was not going
to die and did not need the Last Rites. Then he ordered the doctor to get to
work and make sure he did not die.
Your father was awarded the DSC for this action. Hill 830 Dak To.
The Priest, Chaplin Walters, was killed later at Hill 875 and was awarded
the Congressional Medal of Honor.
I did win the competition for soldier of the month July 1967.
I have thought of that moment when your dad sat up on the table many times
in my life. I'm sure you are very proud of him. We of the 173rd are.
Sgt. Leo E. Hill
B 4th 503 173rd Airborne
Also story of Lt. Dan Severson @ Iron Triangle in the Hobo Woods 16 Jan 67 Bronze Star upgraded to DSC
@ Arthur Wayne Wilkie Dies in combat 16 January 1967