Tonight’s Veteran Salute earned some serious hardware in return for his acts of bravery serving in the Vietnam War. 

He loves to talk about his military memories and remembers the smallest details of the days that changed his life.

Russell Babcock enlisted in the U.S. Army after graduating high school in 1961.  

He excelled in military service, eventually becoming a decorated soldier for his heroism in Vietnam.

Russell would head overseas to Vietnam in September of 1967 with the 25th Infantry.  

It didn’t take long for him to experience the grim reality of combat.

“October of 1967 was a good month or a bad month – depending on how you want to look at it,” says Russell.  “The night I got my first Purple Heart I was wounded here in the arm.”

Soon after he would earn one of three Bronze Stars.

“Setting up three machine guns in front of 3 bunkers,” explains Russell.  “We blew most of them up except for 3 so I put machine guns in front of them, we let them have it.”

And two weeks after that – Russell earned his second Purple Heart.

“I got wounded here in the elbow,” points Russell.

But it wasn’t until the following May Russell would earn his third Purple Heart.

“When I got shot it felt like somebody just punched me in the kidney,” says Russell.

That injury earned Russell 11 stitches across his chest and 13 more across his back.

In total – Russell earned three Purple Hearts, three Bronze Stars and a Silver Star.

He’s also a Tet Offensive Survivor of 1968, 69 and 71.