Heroes Among Us: Gerald Greer

Heroes Among Us: Gerald Greer
As a hospital corpsman in the Navy, Greer saved lives during the Vietnam War. (Source: WALB)
As a hospital corpsman in the Navy, Greer saved lives during the Vietnam War. (Source: WALB)
The U.S. Navy presented him with the Silver Star in March of 1966. (Source: WALB)
The U.S. Navy presented him with the Silver Star in March of 1966. (Source: WALB)

(WALB) - WALB and Montlick and Associates would like to recognize the Heroes Among Us.

Each month, we will spotlight an active duty man or woman, a veteran, or a fallen hero whose service to our country goes beyond the battleground.

In Gerald Greer's t-shirt printing facility in Albany sits a series of frames that some customers might just brush past.

But, they tell a story of a young man so dedicated to his country, he hardly noticed when he very narrowly missed death.

In the midst of a draft in the 1960s, Greer's desire to serve our country stood out.

He voluntarily enlisted in the Navy, not long after President John F. Kennedy's assassination.

"When that happened, I was pushed to the edge and went on and signed up," Greer said.

In his early 20s, he was off to Vietnam, serving as a hospital corpsman in the Navy.

"I don't know how to tell you a whole lot about Vietnam, except it was a mess," he explained.

He wasn't engaged in combat, but he served as a medic to help Marines in need.

"There's no overcoming it," Greer answered when asked how he overcame the circumstances surrounding deadly battles, to help others. "There's bullets flying everywhere."

Though Greer won't admit it, in March of 1966, one of those battles, now dubbed Operation Texas, made him a hero in the eyes of the U.S. Navy.

"We wound up in one fight that got several Marines killed, and that's where I got this reward, or award," Greer said.

He talks about that award as if it is just a medal hung up on the wall.

"That was my purpose of being there. I didn't do any fighting," he explained.

But in reality, the Silver Star is the third highest military combat decoration you can get in the military.

Though he remembers how he felt at the time, some of the memories are a bit fuzzy now.

But, the certificate that came with Greer's Silver Star tells the story for him.

It says he left his protected position, went through flying bullets, treated two of those hurt and then treated two more.

Those two, he couldn't carry to safety. Instead, he "valiantly chose to shield them from the vicious enemy fire with his own body until assistance was available."

Today, the Silver Star in his office tells that story, and he tells another.

"A bullet hit my helmet right here, and went through it and came out the other side, didn't hit me," said Greer.

But that brush with death combined with Greer's ability to continue helping his fellow servicemen tell his story of courage for us.

"Don't understand to this day why, but it didn't hit me," he said.

If you would like to nominate your military hero to be featured on 'Heroes Among Us' on WALB ABC, click here.

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