Walter James Sabalauski

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Walter James Sabalauski
Born March 31, 1910
Lithuania
Died August 9, 1993(1993-08-09) (aged 83)
Place of burial Arlington National Cemetery
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service June, 1941-1945
1948-1972
Rank Command Sergeant Major
Battles/wars World War II
Vietnam War
Awards Distinguished Service Cross
Silver Star
Legion of Merit
Bronze Star (8)
Air Medal (3)
Army Commendation Medal (6)
Purple Heart (4)
Combat Infantryman Badge (3)
Master Parachutist Badge
Campaign medal(s)

Walter James Sabalauski (March 31, 1910 - August 9, 1993) was born in Lithuania. His family moved to the United States while he was a small child. From 1929 to 1937, he boxed professionally while living in the Chicago area. An auto accident ended his career with an outstanding record of only two defeats in 33 bouts.

Biography[edit]

Command Sergeant Major Sabalauski entered the U.S. Army in June 1941. During World War II, he served in the Pacific Theater, fighting on the beachheads of the Solomon Islands, Guadalcanal, and the Philippines. He later served in the Korean War with the 187th Regimental Combat Team (Airborne) and 25th Infantry Regiment. In 1963, CSM Sabalauski went to Vietnam for the first time, where he served as an advisor to the 32d Vietnamese Ranger Battalion. After service in the Dominican Republic in 1965, he returned to Vietnam in 1966. It was during this tour that he fought his most memorable battle.

Early in June 1966, Charlie Company, 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment was conducting a mission to locate elements of the 24th North Vietnamese Regiment. Charlie Company made contact with what was estimated to be a battalion-sized enemy element. Under heavy enemy fire and unable to maneuver, the company commander, Captain William Carpenter called for air strikes in his position in an attempt to force the enemy to withdraw. The enemy ceased fire long enough to allow Charlie Company to consolidate, reorganize and establish a position from which to defend and begin evacuation of wounded personnel. First Sergeant Sabalauski, in utter disregard for his own safety, repeatedly placed himself at risk for the sake of his soldiers during the conduct of this mission. For his extraordinary heroism in destroying the enemy and in evacuating the mass casualties, he received both the Distinguished Service Cross and the Silver Star.

After his second tour in Vietnam he returned to the United States to serve as Cadet Regimental Sergeant Major at West Point. In 1968, he again returned to Vietnam and the 2nd Battalion 502nd Infantry Regiment. His final assignment was as Command Sergeant Major of the 2nd Battalion, 508th Infantry Regiment of the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg from November 1970 until his retirement from the Army on April 1, 1972.

Command Sergeant Major Sabalauski's awards include the Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star, Legion of Merit, 8 Bronze Stars, 3 Air Medals, 6 Army Commendation Medals, 4 Purple Hearts, 3 Awards of the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Master Parachutist Badge along with campaign medals for service in World War II, Korea, Dominican Republic, and Vietnam.

Command Sergeant Major Sabalauski died in 1993 and was buried with full military honors in Arlington National Cemetery. To the soldiers who served with him, he is remembered as a fearless leader in combat and as having a heart as big as any country in which he served.

The Sabalauski Air Assault School located in Fort Campbell, Kentucky was renamed in his honor in 1994.

Awards and decorations[edit]

CIB3.gif Combat Infantryman Badge with two Stars indicating three wars
US Army Airborne master parachutist badge.gif Master Parachutist Badge
Distinguished Service Cross
Silver Star
Legion of Merit
V
Silver oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze Star with "V" Device and one silver Oak Leave Cluster and two bronze Oak Leave Clusters
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Purple Heart with three Oak Leaf Clusters
Award numeral 3.png Air Medal with Numeral 3
V
Silver oak leaf cluster
Army Commendation Medal with "V" Device and one silver Oak Leave Cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Army Presidential Unit Citation with two Oak Leaf Clusters
Meritorious Unit Commendation
Army Good Conduct Medal (11 awards)
American Defense Service Medal
American Campaign Medal
Arrowhead
Silver star
Silver star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Asiatic-Pacific Area Campaign Medal with Arrowhead device and two silver and two bronze campaign stars (to signify 12 campaigns)
World War II Victory Medal
Army of Occupation Medal
Bronze star
National Defense Service Medal with two bronze service star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Korean Service Medal with three bronze campaign stars
Bronze star
Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal
Silver star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Vietnam Service Medal with one silver and two bronze campaign stars
Korea Defense Service Medal
Bronze star
Bronze star
Philippine Liberation Medal with two bronze campaign stars
Philippine Republic Presidential Unit Citation
United Nations Service Medal for Korea
Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation
Gallantry Cross Unit Citation.png Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation with Palm
Civil Action Unit Citation.png Vietnam Civil Actions Unit Citation
Vietnam Campaign Medal
Republic of Korea War Service Medal

External links[edit]