Medal of Honor
RABEL, LASZLO *
Rank and organization: Staff Sergeant, U.S. Army, 74th Infantry Detachment (Long Range Patrol), 173d Airborne Brigade
Place and date: Binh Dinh Province, Republic of Vietnam, 13 November 1968
Entered service at: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Born: 21 September 1939, Budapest, Hungary
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. S/Sgt. Rabel distinguished himself while serving as leader of Team Delta, 74th Infantry Detachment. At 1000 hours on this date, Team Delta was in a defensive perimeter conducting reconnaissance of enemy trail networks when a member of the team detected enemy movement to the front. As S/Sgt. Rabel and a comrade prepared to clear the area, he heard an incoming grenade as it landed in the midst of the team's perimeter. With complete disregard for his life, S/Sgt. Rabel threw himself on the grenade and, covering it with his body, received the complete impact of the immediate explosion. Through his indomitable courage, complete disregard for his safety and profound concern for his fellow soldiers, S/Sgt. Rabel averted the loss of life and injury to the other members of Team Delta. By his gallantry at the cost of his life in the highest traditions of the military service, S/Sgt. Rabel has reflected great credit upon himself, his unit, and the U.S. Army.
Larry Warner < [email protected] > sent the following message on 20 September 1999.
I keep you in my mind and in my heart. I remember you well. When we were students together at the MACV Recondo School in Nha Trang in 1967, you were so much older than I was. I was only twenty years old, half way through the first of two tours In Country. You were 27. You seemed so impossibly older than me then. On breaks, those of us who were students from the 173rd Airborne Brigade would gather together and tell stories. You regaled us with stories of the shock to your most innocent youth in Hungary in 1956, when you were a 17-year-old lad, being caught up in the Revolution that was brutally crushed. Your recounting of escaping and evading through Russian lines was a harrowing tale. I remember the twinkle in your eyes when you recalled how you took out a couple of Russians who were in your way during your escape to the West. Here it was 11 years later and you puffed up your burly chest with the pride of the opportunity to rid the world of more Communists and get paid for it. Your dedication and commitment to your mission and to your fellow soldiers both awed and inspired me.
Thanks for being in such good humor when I threatened to "pop" you one. It was my arm that was extended before you during the Medical Module / Intravenous exercise. You were trying so hard with your thick fingers to inject me with the proscribed amount of sterile water. On the first attempt, you rolled the needle off the vein to the right. On the second attempt, you rolled the needle off to the left. On the third attempt, you rammed the needle through the vein. On the fourth attempt, after my "threat", you got it right. While I was thankful, I was sore.
In 1968, however, I'd heard of your selfless act from friends of mine who were there. Recently, I read the citation language that accompanied your Congressional Medal of Honor. Your final act was so consistent with the dedication and commitment you professed while we were at the Recondo School. These days, Lazlo, I feel honored to have shared that little bit of blood with you. Does that make us blood brothers? If not, we remain brothers in spirit.
Eternal Peace is Yours,
173rd Airborne Brigade, 1966-1967
5th Special Forces Group 1967-1968
--- General / Personal ---
Last name: RABEL
First name: LASZIO
Home of Record (official): MINNEAPOLIS
State (official): MN
Date of Birth: Thursday, September 21, 1939
Marital Status: Married
--- Military ---
Serial Number: 17738385
Pay grade: E6
MOS (Military Occupational Specialty code): 11F4P
--- Action ---
Start of Tour: Monday, June 6, 1966
Date of Casualty: Wednesday, November 13, 1968
Age at time of loss: 29
Casualty type: (A2) Hostile, died of wounds
Reason: Other explosive device (Ground casualty)
Country: South Vietnam
Province: Binh Dinh
The Wall: Panel 39W - Row 062