PORTSMOUTH — Just a little more than 54 years ago, Army Staff Sgt. Stanley Richards of the 1st Infantry Division traveled with his battalion into Binh Duong Province in Vietnam. Confronted by the insurgent Viet Cong, the battalion encountered heavy fire, which made Richards’ communications job much more difficult.
During the conflict, the command network became jammed and Richards risked his life, running through open areas and dodging sniper fire, in order to get the messages across to all the companies in his battalion.
Later that day, Richards again encountered additional peril by making his way to an unsecured landing zone, where he helped unload and restock helicopters. Those supplies and more information were then brought to those same companies by Richards as well.
His actions resulted in him receiving the Bronze Star and now an additional honor. On Thursday, the Ohio Military Hall of Fame recognized Richards’ service in-front of the Scioto County Courthouse Annex by inducting him into the Class of 2020.
“Staff Sgt. Richards’ outstanding display of aggressiveness, devotion to duty, and personal bravery are in keeping with the finest traditions of the military service,” said Ted Mosure, President of the Ohio Military Hall of Fame Board of Directors.
With his induction, Richards, an Otway native, joined a list of seven other veterans from the county who belong to the Hall, which celebrates Ohio veterans from the Civil War to the present who received a Medal of Honor. He joins such names as Staff Sgt. Gilbert Bolton, Sgt. Michael Brown, Pfc. Warren Lawson, Spc. Jeffrey Coburn, first Sgt. Richard Childers, first Lt. James Redding, and CW2 Robert Pierce.
Grateful for the honor, Richards remained humble in his acceptance, who was joined by his wife, Georgia, and two of his five children and grandchildren at the ceremony.
“I don’t consider myself a hero,” said Richards, whose 10 years of service took him to Germany, Panama and Vietnam, spanning five active infantry divisions. “I did a job that I had to do at the time.”
Serving in Vietnam from 1966 to 1967, Richards said he saw five major battles during the last year of his service with the Army. He later joined the Ohio Natural Guard, retiring as Command Sgt. Maj. of the 73rd Infantry Brigade after 12 years.
In typical years, the ceremony is held on the first Friday in May in the Ohio Statehouse Atrium, attended by Gov. Mike DeWine and higher-ups of the Ohio National Guard. This year, due to the coronavirus that ceremony was postponed indefinitely. In-place, Mosure presented Richards with an accommodation letter from DeWine and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted. He has also contacted Ohio Senators, Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman, and other local politicians to send letters to Richards.
“You served our country honorably and have displayed tremendous dedication and resolve,” read Mosure from the letter. “On behalf of all Ohioans, we are eternally grateful for your selfless sacrifice and dedication to our country.”
Reach Reach Patrick Keck (740)-353-3501 ext. 1931, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @pkeckreporter.© 2020 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved.