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Higgins presents Bronze Star to local veteran & honors wounded warriors with Vietnam veteran lapel pin

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Wed, Oct 17th 2018 05:50 pm
Bob Segool's awards. (Submitted photo)
Bob Segool's awards. (Submitted photo)
During a gathering of Western New York Military Order of the Purple Heart members, Congressman Brian Higgins honored wounded veterans who served during the Vietnam War, including a special presentation of a Bronze Star and other medals to Chapter 187 Chaplain Robert Segool.
Higgins said, "The Military Order of the Purple Heart motto is: 'Some Gave All, All Gave Some,' and it truly represents the great sacrifices made by each Purple Heart recipient. And still here at home, members continue to stand up for and defend their fellow veterans. For your service and commitment, to our country and our community, we are forever grateful."
The Purple Heart is awarded to members of the United States Armed Forces who have been wounded or killed in action. The mission of the Military Order of the Purple Heart is to foster an environment of goodwill and camaraderie among combat wounded veterans, promote patriotism, support legislative initiatives, and provide service to all veterans and their families.
The America Vietnam War Commemoration was authorized by Congress, established under the secretary of defense, and launched to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War. The commemoration pledges to honor U.S. veterans who served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces between Nov. 1, 1955 and May 15, 1975, regardless of location. The commemoration is taking place nationwide, with the presentation of Vietnam War Commemoration pins presented between Memorial Day 2012 through Veterans Day 2025.
Higgins is a registered commemorative partner, committed to honoring Vietnam veterans over the designated anniversary period.
The congressman presented Vietnam War 50th anniversary commemorative lapel pins to the following local Vietnam veterans and members of the Military Order of the Purple Heart (MOPH): Kenneth W. Speaker, commander for the MOPH Buffalo Chapter 187; Michael Targon, commander of the MOPH Niagara Falls Chapter 264; Ronald Krul, adjutant of MOPH Niagara Falls Chapter 264; James R. Schaller, adjutant for MOPH Buffalo Chapter 187; Segool, chaplain for the MOPH Buffalo Chapter 187; Russell D. Ward, senior vice commander of MOPH Buffalo Chapter 187; Roger P. Dearmyer, MOPH member; Michael W. Hart, MOPH member; Donald T. Kusza, MOPH member; Joseph A. Lacapruccia, MOPH member; Thomas J. Mach, MOPH member; Allan Paul, MOPH member; Edward Petre, MOPH member; and Rev. Brent Doyle, junior associate pastor at Southtowns Christian Center.
Higgins also recognized the service of Terrence "Terry" Partsch, a proud Vietnam veteran and member of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, who recently passed away, by presenting his wife, Sheila Partsch, with a Vietnam War commemorative spousal pin.
At a Military Order of the Purple Heart dinner, Higgins paid special tribute to Segool, presenting the Purple Heart recipient with his Bronze Star and other medals earned during service in the Vietnam War.
Segool was born in 1939. His father, Robert Segool, was French and Native American, while his mother came to the U.S. from Italy when she was just 3 years old. While growing up, Segool always knew he would fight for his country. He said warrior spirit is in his blood, dating back to his great uncle, Jedidiah, also known as "Buck Skin Charlie," who participated in President Theodore Roosevelt's inauguration parade and received a Peace Medal from the commander-in-chief. Segool had a dozen uncles and cousins in the military during WWII and his brother, Arthur, served in the Army from 1956-60.
Growing up, Segool said he remembered other kids dreaming to be firefighters and police officers, but he wanted to be a soldier. It was no surprise when he followed his dream enlisting into the U.S. Marine Corps on April 17, 1968.
He was assigned to the Combine Action Platoon with a mission to protect the Bien Ky Hamlet from Communist infiltration, and given the nickname "Frenchy." The battle lasted over four hours and Segool, along with four others, took on a 25- to 30-member North Vietnamese heavy weapons platoon. Despite being injured and exhausted, when he returned to the base, he volunteered to go back and help stop the advancing enemies. When evacuation helicopters and gunships arrived, he exposed himself to enemy fire and helped to direct the gunfire, causing the enemy to retreat. He selflessly refused to be Medevac'd because they were short of men.
While in Vietnam, "Frenchy" did much more than help his fellow soldiers. He also felt the need to take care of the South Vietnamese who were displaced due to the war. He did what he could to care for children who lost their families or were abandoned, including a young boy named Chue.
Segool was released from active duty on Jan. 8, 1970, and transferred into the Navy Reserves. He finished his military service on April 16, 1974.
Segool often wondered what became of Chue. He sent letters to his U.S. Marine Corps unit in Vietnam, but was unable to locate the young boy whom he helped while serving in Vietnam. However, Segool did have an opportunity to sponsor two refugees from South Vietnam who came to live with him in Western New York.
Since returning from the war, Segool has been active in efforts to help other veterans. He became the chaplain of the Military Order of the Purple Heart Chapter 187, took the lead in the effort to create the Purple Heart Memorial Buffalo Naval & Military Park in downtown Buffalo, and worked with Russell Salvatore on the creation of the Purple Heart monument now located in Patriots and Heroes Park on Transit Road in Lancaster. He is also the father of 10 children, three of whom served in the U.S. Armed Forces.
Higgins said he was honored to officially present Segool with the following medals he earned during honorable service to this country:
  • Honorable Discharge Button
  • Navy Rifle Expert
  • Vietnam Service Medal with One Silver Service Star
  • National Defense Service Medal
  • Meritorious Unit Commendation
  • Navy Unit Commendation with One Bronze Service Star
  • Combat Action Ribbon
  • Purple Heart for wounds received in combat action
  • Bronze Star Medal with Combat "V" device
The Bronze Star is awarded to members of the military distinguishing themselves by heroic service while engaged in an action against an armed enemy. It is the fourth-highest award presented to the military for acts of merit.
Segool's citation for the Bronze Star Medal with V device reads: "For heroic achievement on the early morning of 6 September 1969 while voluntarily serving as a member of a five-man patrol from Civic Action Platoon 2-7-5, III Marine Amphibious Force in the Republic of Vietnam. When his patrol, whose mission was the security of Bien Ky Hamlet, was ambushed by a numerically superior enemy force and pinned down by a barrage of rocket, mortar, and automatic weapons fire, Petty Officer Segool immediately began to lay down a base of fire and directed the fire of marines near his position. Observing a seriously wounded Marine about to run into the path of intense fire, Petty officer Segool left his position of cover, wrestled the man to the ground and, although wounded himself, managed to assist in eventually removing the Marine to the safety of the patrol base. Petty Officer Segool later aided in halting a second enemy attack by manning a machine gun and by directing the fire of helicopters arriving on the scene. By his heroic actions throughout, he was instrumental in saving the life of a Marine and in averting an attack on Bien Ky Hamlet, thereby reflecting great credit upon himself and upholding the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service."
According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, 9 million Americans served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces during the period of the Vietnam War. Approximately 7 million are living today.

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