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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 it.”
There were references in the citations to Specialist Christianson’s “thorough competence” as a medic, and said he “saved the lives of many men.”
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.”

Stu’s Notes:
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 9th,
more information next week.