Thursday, February 23, 2012


OLEAN – A former Green Beret who served for two tours in the U.S. Army was honored on Thursday with long overdue awards he never received.

Sgt. Mark Close of Olean was surrounded by friends and family at a special ceremony held at Senator Catharine Young’s office where he received the Korea Defense Service Medal, the New York State Medal For Merit, and the Cold War Recognition Certificate.

From 1978 until 1979, he served at Camp Casey in Korea with the Second Infantry Division on the Korean Demilitarized Zone, a strip of land running across the Korean Peninsula that serves as a buffer zone between North and South Korea.

After leaving Korea, Sgt. Close initially was attached and later assigned to Special Forces as a supply sergeant.

Some clarification is in order here:

1) First of all, there is no such thing as a "former" Green Beret - you either are one, or you aren't. If Special Forces status was withdrawn for whatever reason - then you are not a Green Beret and you never were one.

2) This gentleman is not a Green Beret; he is a support soldier - a supply sergeant assigned to a Special Forces unit. I'm not taking anything away from what he did - he served overseas and in this country with honor, he re-enlisted and volunteered for Jump School. There is much honor here, but let us not bestow upon him extraordinary status which in fact he did not earn.

Sgt. Close also was presented with the New York State Medal For Merit. This decoration is given to current New York State residents, or those who were New York State citizens at the time of their service, who served honorably in the United States Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard or Merchant Marines, and whose service was in direct support of combat operations.

Direct support of combat operations??? We're talking 1976-1982 here - Vietnam officially ended in 1973; 1975 if you push it, and Grenada wasn't until 1983. Maybe they're looking at that one year up by the DMZ in Korea - admittedly things were pretty hot there in the seventies and even into the eighties. U.S. Army Special Forces presence in Lebanon is not considered combat - even though combat was happening all around them; even still we're talking "direct support".

Whatever . . . today's Bird HERE



  1. Maybe that's why he doesn't look as impressed as the senator.

  2. Dude seriously, this snivelly little POS is worthy of your website? The KDSM wasn't dreamed up until a coupla years ago so that the VFW could get new members...This made me laugh! Camp Casey is considered as "in the rear with the gear" as far as the DMZ is considered in 2ID. I know, I was there. My biggest worry was fallin off the wooden bridge into "Doo-doo Creek" drunk after comin back from down-range night ops in Tongduchan city. What a douchebag!

  3. My objective here was to establish the point regarding "former Green Beret" and also that not everybody who serves in a Special Forces unitis Special Forces qualified.

    Yes I know what you mean about TDC - I visited that place during my years "unleashed in the East" with 1st SFG, Okinawa.

    Cheers, S.L.

  4. Too bad the senator's office couldn't read the requirements for the NYS Medal for Merit.

    "..whose entire service was honorable and who were recepients of a valor, achievement, commendation, or meritorious service decoration, of a lesser degree than required for the award of the Conspicious Service Cross, or whose service was in direct support of combat operations while serving in the United States Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, or Coast Guard."

    (It's also terrible that the State of New York isn't able to afford a spell checker!)

    Notice the "OR whose service was in direct support..."

    So, you get a medal from the State of New York because you earned a commendation or achievement medal while on active duty.

    Obviously, someone brought him to the attention of the senator. Why should we expect our political overlords to understand the nuances of being in a Special Forces unit and BEING Special Forces?

    Just 2¢ from a retired Marine.

  5. I spent 10 years in 2ID just about every infantry unit there was I was in did 9 tours up to the dmz and alot of patrols I did wish the dmzvets that did that tour could get recognition for what they did. JUST A THOUGHT!!!!!!

  6. Combat Infantryman Badge-
    Korea on the demilitarized zone (DMZ) (4 January 1969 to 31 March 1994).
    Joint Security Area, Panmunjom, Korea (23 November 1984).
    But this guy was REMF,those who were there know..."IMJIN SCOUT"-Infiltration Alley