August 18, 2006
“Some Gave All”
Oroville Mercury Register
Oroville Couple Receives Son’s Posthumously-Awarded Medals
by Jerry Teague
In a quiet ceremony in the living room of their Arbol Avenue home,
Dr. and Mrs. Gordon Christianson yesterday were presented the medals
and awards earned by their son, Spec. 4 David B. Christianson,
19, a combat medic.
Specialist Christianson was killed March 10 1969 while serving with
the crack 199th Light Infantry Brigade in the jungle
near Saigon. He was hit by a grenade. Dr. and Mrs. Christianson
stood while Cpt. Jeffery Stevens and Lt. Robert Auchter, representing
the commanding general of the Sixth Army, read the citations and
presented the glass-encased medals, which included the Bronze Star
and with certificate for bravery. The Bronze star was awarded posthumously,
as were the purple heart with certificate, army commendation medal
with V for valor and heroism, and the good conduct medal.
Before his death, he received the purple heart for wounds suffered
in combat on Jan. 25, the national defense service medal, the Vietnam
campaign ribbon, and the coveted combat medical badge. The young
soldier received his basic and medical
training at Fort Sam Houston, Tex, his clinical and advanced training
at the Presidio in Monterey, helicopter training and his wings as
a paratrooper at Camp Hunter Leggit, California.
He left for Vietnam on Oct. 29th, 1968, in the words
of his father, “a soldier without a gun.
He was willing to die for his country, but not willing to kill for
There were references in the citations to Specialist Christianson’s
“thorough competence” as a medic, and said he “saved the lives of
Survivors, in addition to his parents, are a sister, Mrs. Desire
Whitlock of Forest Grove Oregon; his maternal grandparents, Mr.
and Mrs. A. F. McDonald of Palermo, and his paternal grandparents,
Mr. and Mrs. A. B. Christianson of Yakima, Wash.
From his Obituary:
Funeral Service for David Christianson, 19, will be held at 1 p.m.
Friday at the Sanford Funeral Home Chapel with two former pastors
of the Seventh Day Adventist Church here assisting in the officiating.
David was born in Toppenish, Wash., March 3, 1949, but was reared
in the Oroville area. He was a 1967 graduate of the Lodi Academy.
He was tops in his class for paratroop and helicopter medical training
at Fort Ord. He was sent to Vietnam Oct. 29, 1968.
In addition to the funeral service to be conducted by Elder William
Ludwig of Roseville and Elder Arvin Winkle, who baptized David into
the church here, there will be full military honors Friday.
A detachment from Beale Air Force Base will conduct the military
honors at the veteran section of Memorial Park. David’s favorite
songs will be sung by Elder Winkle and Conrad Craft, formerly of
Oroville but now living in Paradise. Friends of the family have
proposed that donations be made to a David Christianson Memorial-
a small gymnasium at the Seventh-Day Adventist Junior Academy on
the corner of Highway 70 and Cox Lane. Escort for David Friday will
be a cousin, Gary Wells from Fort Sam Houston, Texas.
For the next few weeks I will include excerpts from “Recollections
From Army Days” by Robert C. Brooks.
“I joined the army in May 1942 at Oakland, California. Went by train
to the Presidio at Monterey, where recruits were issued G. I. clothing,
from underwear to uniforms. We listened to lectures about military
discipline, courtesy, and conduct. I remember a corporal, who strutted
back and forth on a balcony above the standing new recruits, threatening
terrible, severe punishment for anyone who didn’t do things right.
Some time later, a captain giving a talk, said we were fighting
to preserve freedom in our country, and in the army it was necessary
to take and carry out orders, but we could get an idea how life
would be in a country under a dictator. Reminded me of the corporal
strutting on the balcony- he acted like a little Hitler, himself.
The next post was Fort Knox, Kentucky, I was assigned to the Eight
Armored Division, 49th Armored Infantry Regiment. Fireflies
were new to most of us. They came out in the evening, little bits
of yellow light that zigzagged and blinked. Some of the boys caught
a few in jars.”
I met Bob Brooks when I formed the Men Who Built Oroville Dam Club.
He worked all through the Oroville Dam and I see him quite often
at the Veterans Dinners. He is a well spoken man. I think his story
of his service to his country tells it like it is. I remember lighting
bugs, or fireflies quite well as I was born in Pennsylvania. The
month of September will be a busy one. We will have our POW/MIA
service on Friday evening, September 15th, on the steps
of the Veterans Memorial Hall on Montgomery Street.
One of our newest members is organizing a Barbeque on September
more information next week.