Upstate veteran honors Medal of Honor recipients


SPARTANBURG, SC (WSPA) – An Upstate Vietnam veteran honored Medal of Honor recipients in a special way on Memorial Day.

“Vietnam veterans were a forgotten group,” said Patrick Gunter. 

But he hasn’t forgotten his time at war.

“A lot of people don’t really know what it took. The blood, the sacrifices, for us to have this freedom,” Gunter said. 

He has not forgotten about the “Sky Soldiers” who served before, with and after him either. 

“The Sky Soldiers were a tough group of men, and they didn’t quit when the going got rough,” Gunter told 7News. 

Gunter was part of the 173rd Airborne Brigade of the U.S. Army. The Brigade was nicknamed the “Sky Soldiers.” The unit was the first combat team deployed in Vietnam and the only ones to parachute jump in the war. Thousands of Soldiers lost their lives in the bloody battles and those who survived weren’t appreciated. 

“During that time Veterans were not welcome in the United States. That’s sad to say,” Gunter told 7News. 

But the Vietnam Veteran found a way to pay tribute to those who made the ultimate sacrifice. 

He said it’s been a dream of his to create yard displays to put up every year on Memorial Day and Veterans Day. 

Finally, this year, with the help of donations from local businesses his vision came to life. 

He created plaques commemorating the following 173rd Airborne Brigade Medal of Honor recipients: 

  • Specialist 4 Michael R. Blanchfield
  • Staff Sergeant Glenn H. English Jr. 
  • Private First Class John Andrew Barnes III 
  • Specialist 6 Joel Lawrence

Each display shares the story of incredible acts of valor in battle. 

“This is what America is all about, defending our freedom,” the Vietnam veteran said. 

Gunter hopes to eventually raise enough money to make displays for all 17 173rd Airborne Brigade Medal of Honor recipients. 

The display will be up on Memorial Day at Gunter’s home on Browning Road in Cross Anchor. That’s in Spartanburg County. 

Anyone interested in helping Gunter can email him at

Gunter would like to thank Spartanburg Photo Center for creating the yard displays on such short notice. 

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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