David A. Christian
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Christian in his Army dress uniform
|Born||October 26, 1948|
|Residence||Washington Crossing, Pennsylvania|
|Awards||Distinguished Service Cross|
Silver Star (2)
Bronze Star (2) with "V" Device
Purple Heart (7)
Air Medal (2)
Army Commendation Medal
Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross (2) with Star and Palm
|Branch/service||United States Army|
|Years of service||1966-1970|
David A. Christian (born October 26, 1948) is an American who served in the United States Army as a sergeant, lieutenant, and captain during the Vietnam War. While serving as a lieutenant in South Vietnam, he was wounded in action seven times and awarded several medals including the Distinguished Service Cross for extraordinary heroism. He is best known for his veterans' advocacy efforts.
In 2012, Christian was a candidate for the Republican nomination in the United States Senate election in Pennsylvania, challenging incumbent Democratic Senator Bob Casey, Jr. Christian lost in the primary election to Tom Smith.
Early life and education
Christian was born in Gainesville, Florida, on October 26, 1948. He was raised in Levittown, Pennsylvania. Christian's father left the family, causing his mother to raise Christian and his three siblings alone. Christian's mother, Dorothy Christian, was a U.S. Army aide to General Douglas MacArthur in World War II.
Christian completed his high school education at Woodrow Wilson High School in 1966. He graduated on the Dean's List from Villanova University in 1972. He attended law school at Rutgers University, from 1972 to 76. Christian graduated from Rutgers Law School in 2011. Christian also attended graduate programs at Villanova, the University of Pennsylvania, Bryn Mawr College, and Middlebury College.
Christian enlisted in the United States Army in 1966 at age 17. After being rapidly promoted through the enlisted ranks to sergeant, he was admitted to the U.S. Army Officer Candidate School (OCS) and commissioned at 18 years old (making him one of the youngest officers) and making Christian the youngest commissioned officer of the 20 and 21st centuries. Following Officer Candidate School, he completed U.S. Army Airborne School, (Parachute Jump School) and U.S. Army Special Forces ("Green Berets") training.
In 1968, he was sent to Vietnam and served with the 1st Infantry Division - 75th Rangers (Long Range Recon) doing work behind enemy lines for the Division and the 11th Armored Cavalry under Major General George Patton IV and the 1st Battalion 26th Infantry. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for extraordinary heroism on October 29, 1968 and two Silver Stars (America's third highest medal for valor). In January 1969, Christian was critically burned by napalm in Vietnam and treated at hospitals there until February 20. He was then transferred to the 106 General Hospital (a division of Brooke Burn Center was established there) in Japan. He was promoted to captain (O-3) at age 20. He was medically retired from the Army at age 21.
Distinguished Service Cross
CITATION: The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 9, 1918 (amended by act of July 25, 1963), takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross to First Lieutenant (Infantry) David A. Christian (ASN: 0-5345884), United States Army, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations involving conflict with an armed hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam, while serving with Combat Support Company, 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry, 1st Brigade, 1st Infantry Division. First Lieutenant Christian distinguished himself by exceptionally valorous actions on 29 October 1968 while in charge of the lead element of a reconnaissance-in-force mission ten miles northwest of Quan Loi. During an attempt to flank enemy positions, Lieutenant Christian's nine-man unit came under heavy rocket-propelled grenade, small arms and automatic weapons fire. After firing several light antitank weapons, he led an assault on the hostile strongholds, killing three North Vietnamese and causing others to flee. As he and his comrades advanced they again received intense small arms and machine gun fire and three men were wounded. Lieutenant Christian sent the casualties and the medic to the rear, and then led his troops forward until they became pinned down within ten meters of a bunker. Disregarding his safety, he assaulted the fortification single-handedly and destroyed it with hand grenades. The communists were reinforced by approximately thirty men, forcing the reconnaissance team to take cover behind a berm. Despite the enemy's devastating fire superiority, Lieutenant Christian attacked them with two antitank weapons. He was painfully wounded in the hand, but refused medical care and returned to the berm to direct artillery fire. When friendly reinforcements arrived two hours later, he directed them to cover his left flank while he attempted to evacuate his casualties. Although wounded again by an enemy rocket-propelled grenade, he did not permit himself to be treated until the other injured men had been evacuated. Lieutenant Christian's extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty were in the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit on him, his unit, and the United States Army.
Headquarters, U.S. Army, Vietnam, General Orders No. 1192 (April 7, 1969)
Christian was elected National Commander of the Legion of Valor in 1978 and National Adjutant in 1980. Christian holds a lifetime Board of Directors position with the Legion of Valor. Membership in the Legion of Valor is restricted to those who have been awarded the Medal of Honor, Distinguished Service Cross, Navy Cross, or Air Force Cross.
Frustrated with how Vietnam War veterans were treated upon their return to the United States, both by the general public and the government, Christian became an advocate and veterans leader. He was a founding Vice-President of the Council of Vietnam Veterans. He left the organization, founding the splinter group of the United Vietnam Veterans Organization (UVVO), which merged with the VVA in 1986 at the Vietnam Veterans of America at their National Convention in Detroit).
Christian served as a Presidential Schedule "C" employee under President Jimmy Carter in 1978 and was fired for his outspokenness and the story landed on the front page of the New York Times January 25, 1979. Christian went on to serve as Regional Director of the US Department of Labor (Region 3) and then as Assistant State Director in Pennsylvania making that State the only State to be in compliance with establishing outreach centers. Christian worked with then Secretary of Labor and Industry, Charles Lieberth, and continued this program under President Reagan and Governor Thornburg. Note: Millions of dollars were brought into the outreach centers that helped veterans in employment and in obtaining disability for over 20 years).Reagan administration. In July 1981, material pertaining to Agent Orange health issues was stolen from his office in what Christian characterized as a "Watergate type" burglary.
Christian is a former Fox News military analyst, having worked with them from 2002-2003. Christian is also interviewed in the documentary Picking Up the Pieces (Making sense of the 60's V.5). Christian also appeared in John Pilger's "Heroes" documentary.
He collaborated with William Hoffer on the 1991 autobiographical Victor Six.
Christian has been President and CEO of many private sector companies through the years.
2012 U.S. Senate election
Later in the year, Christian officially declared his candidacy for the U.S. Senate for the seat being held by incumbent Bob Casey, Jr. In his campaign announcement, Christian described himself as a "Ronald Reagan Republican". A poll conducted by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review/WPXI-TV in early February 2012 showed Christian tied for last in the Republican field, with 1% of respondents. A poll conducted in late February by PoliticsPA of the website's readership, however, placed Christian in second place, trailing only Sam Rohrer. Christian finished with 21% of respondents (364 votes) to Rohrer's 37% (651 votes).
Christian was defeated in the April 24, 2012, primary by Tom Smith.
Christian's military decorations and awards include:
|Combat Infantryman Badge|
|Distinguished Service Cross|
|Silver Star with One Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster|
|Bronze Star with "V" Device and Oak Leaf Cluster|
|Purple Heart with One Silver and One Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster|
|Air Medal with oak leaf cluster|
|Army Commendation Medal|
|National Defense Service Medal|
|Vietnam Service Medal with three 3⁄16" bronze stars|
|Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with star and palm|
|Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation with palm and frame|
|Republic of Vietnam Civil Actions Unit Citation with palm and frame|
|Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal with 1960- device|
Captain Christian is also a recipient of the New York State Conspicuous Gallantry Cross.
- "Christian, David A." Our Campaigns. Retrieved 25 September 2011.
- The Unfinished War: Vietnam and the American Conscience Walter H. Capps. P. 4. 1990. Beacon Press
- Boomer Nation: The Largest and Richest Generation Ever, and How It Changed America, Steven M. Gillon (p 187) 2004 Simon & Schuster. Mentions awards specifically cited.
- "David Christian: "We're In" Officially Launches 2012 U.S. Senate Campaign Against Bob Casey, Jr". David Christian for U.S. Senate. Archived from the original on 6 November 2011. Retrieved 24 September 2011.
- "2012: David Christian Enters U.S. Senate Race". Pike County Republican Committee. Archived from the original on 15 November 2011. Retrieved 24 September 2011.
- Brennan, Kevin (24 April 2012). "Smith Wins Pennsylvania Senate GOP Primary". National Journal. Archived from the original on 27 April 2012. Retrieved 25 April 2012.
- "About David". David Christian for U.S. Senate. Archived from the original on 6 November 2011. Retrieved 25 September 2011.
- "Local Soldier may tie Audie Murphy's record". Ron Avery. Bucks County Courier Times. August 22, 1969.
- Officers. Archived 2013-01-27 at Archive.today Legion of Valor.
- Interview with David Christian, 1983 (Video Interview) WGBH Media Library & Archives.
- Kennedy, Morris. "Kostmayer, Christian find little upon which to agree." Montgomery County Bulletin (?). October 23, 1984.
- No author named. "Agent Orange Documents stolen." Pacific Stars and Stripes. July 9, 1981.
- Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism. Alexandra Kitty. (p 207) Disinformation Company. April 2005.
- Topics and Guests for Monday, Nov. 4, 2002. Fox News.
- Guests and Topics: March 12, 2003. Fox News.
- Documentary writeup
- on YouTube.
- Victor Six. David Christian & William Hoffer. 1990 Hb McGraw-Hill, 1991 Pb Pocket Books.
- Schlegal, Bradley (11 July 2011). "Bucks County businessman David Christian ponders run for U.S. Senate". The Times Herald. Archived from the original on 2 April 2012. Retrieved 24 September 2011.
- Fontaine, Tom (10 February 2012). "GOP lacks name recognition in Casey bid". Pittsburgh Tribune Review. Archived from the original on 13 February 2012. Retrieved 4 March 2012.
- Gibson, Keegan (28 February 2012). "Rohrer Wins PoliticsPA Reader Poll". PoliticsPA. Retrieved 4 March 2012.
- David Christian website
- Our Final Debt To Dave Christian
- David Christian in Philadelphia Inquirer (First search result)
- Information regarding Christian's award of the Distinguished Service Cross (Scroll down)
- Legion of Valor Officers
- Ronald Reagan Presidential Library file on Veteran's Affairs on appointment of David Christian