Charlotte man honored for act of valor in Vietnam War

Charlotte man honored for act of valor in Vietnam War


by DAVE WAGNER / NBC Charlotte

Bio | Email | Follow: @WagnerWCNC

Posted on February 20, 2013 at 6:48 PM

Updated Saturday, Oct 26 at 12:19 AM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- A Charlotte man has been awarded one of the highest honors given to a soldier.

NBC Charlotte anchor Dave Wagner shares his story of valor and selfless sense of duty.
To meet Larry Holder, you'd never believe what this humble man has done. But on Wednesday, more than four-decades later, he was honored at the Carolinas Aviation Museum. It was a moment 46 years in the making.

On a December day in 1966, Charlie Company First Battalion came under fierce fire on the battlefields of Vietnam. 33 were wounded, 17 were killed.

Among those shot was Bill McKeown, who bears the scars of that day.

II was shot up really, really bad," McKeown recalled.

As McKeown laid there injured, medic Larry Holder ran through machine gun fire, threw his body on top of McKeown and took two bullets to keep his fellow soldier alive.

“You don't leave your men out there," Holder stated.

McKeown says, "I'm still amazed by what he did."

For more than four decades, McKeown believed Holder had died saving his life, until a fellow solder said Larry was very much alive.

On Wednesday, 46 years later, Bill McKeown flew in from Florida and watched as his friend was awarded the medal for exceptional valor and gallantry.

“I never thought of it,” Holder said, “I never thought I'd think about a silver star. That's only guys that--I didn't know I'd qualify for that."

“I'm still here, and that's the bottom line, thanks to Larry Holder." McKeown expressed.
 Larry Holder made it clear that his silver star honors those other medics who helped out on that difficult day-- including those who died.

Holder is retired here in Charlotte and now stays in touch with the man whose life he saved.