Local Soldier Honored 40 Years After Death

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-- Cairo, Ga. -- May 27, 2012 --

Sergeant Chris Palmer was killed on November 14, 1965. He was two days shy of his 40th birthday. Sergeant Palmer had served nearly half his life in the Army.

He was among those killed during the first few hours of landing in the Ia Drang Valley in Vietnam. This Memorial Day weekend, his family and friends came out to the Macedonia Church in Cairo to honor him.

At the time of his death, Palmer was about to retire.. but he couldn't escape his duty. His wife Lorene Palmer said "he always said military comes first.. I said wait a minute! But I know it did, his whole life was military."

He was one of the 79 soldiers killed in his battalion. The book "We Were Soldiers" was based on this battle. It was later turned into a movie with Mel Gibson. For those that were there the reality of confronting the enemy was no Hollywood movie.

Sergeant Ernie Savage served alongside Sergeant Palmer. Savage said "when they started firing they were seeing you. They were probably less than a 100 yards. And some had moved into within 10 to 15 yards. You could see, you could shoot at a guy looking right at you. So that's how close they were."

Palmer's wife never did remarry. She said "I just never found another one like him."

Some of the veterans urged other soldiers to contact their local Veterans Affairs office.