Charlie Liteky, who gave back his Medal of Honor, dies

Associated Press

San Francisco — Charlie Liteky, an Army chaplain in Vietnam who won the Medal of Honor for rescuing more than 20 wounded men but later gave it back in protest and became a peace activist, has died.

Longtime friend Richard Olive said Liteky died Friday night at the Veterans Administration Hospital in San Francisco. He was 85.

The Army awarded Liteky the highest military decoration for his heroic actions on Dec. 6, 1967, when his company came under intense fire from an enemy battalion in Bien Hoa province. Despite painful wounds, Liteky carried more than 20 men to be evacuated during the fierce firefight.

Twenty years later, Liteky left the Medal of Honor at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington to protest the country’s foreign policy in Central America, where U.S.-backed dictators were fighting bloody wars against left-leaning rebels.