Sabalauski, Walter James, CSM

Deceased
 
 Photo In Uniform   Service Details
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Last Rank
Command Sergeant Major
Last Service Branch
Infantry
Last Primary MOS
00Z-Command Sergeant Major IN
Last MOS Group
Infantry (Enlisted)
Primary Unit
1967-1969, 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment
Service Years
1941 - 1971

Command Sergeant Major


Ten Service Stripes



Fourteen Overseas Service Bars


 Last Photo   Personal Details 

26 kb

Home Country
Lithuania
Lithuania
Year of Birth
1910
 
This Military Service Page was created/owned by SSG Trey W. Franklin to remember Sabalauski, Walter James, CSM USA(Ret).

If you knew or served with this Soldier and have additional information or photos to support this Page, please leave a message for the Page Administrator(s) HERE.
 
Contact Info
Home Town
Not Specified
Last Address
Not Specified

Date of Passing
Oct 22, 1993
 
Location of Interment
Arlington National Cemetery - Arlington, Virginia
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Not Specified

 Official Badges 

Infantry Shoulder Cord US Army Retired (Pre-2007) Meritorious Unit Commendation 1944-1961 US Army Retired




 Unofficial Badges 

Airborne


 Military Association Memberships
Legion Of Valor
  1966, Legion Of Valor - Assoc. Page


 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

This is to Certify that
The President of the United States of America
Takes Pride in Presenting

THE
DISTINGUISHED SERVICE CROSS
to
Walter J. Sabalauski

Company C, 2d Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade, 101st Airborne Division

For extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations involving conflict with an armed hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam, while serving with Company C, 2d Battalion, 502d Infantry, 1st Brigade, 101st Airborne Division.
 

First Sergeant Sabalauski distinguished himself by exceptionally valorous actions during the period 9 to 11 June 1966 while participating in a blocking operation near Dak To. When the Viet Cong occupied jungle suddenly erupted with intense hostile fire from three directions, First Sergeant Sabalauski, realizing that the company commander could not possibly control all the elements in the thick bamboo growth and 50 foot canopies, rallied and directed the beleaguered troops in an attempt to gain fire superiority. With complete disregard for his safety, First Sergeant Sabalauski dashed from position to position and repeatedly exposed himself to muster his unit and quell the hostile fire. As the Viet Cong assaulted the perimeter, First Sergeant Sabalauski quickly organized an assault line and delivered suppressive fire onto the fanatical Viet Cong. After dashing to the rear of the perimeter and observing that the insurgents were surrounding his company, he exposed himself and screamed orders to form a tight defensive perimeter. Although artillery was called in as close as 25 meters from the friendly force and air strikes devastated the jungle around the perimeter, the determined Viet Cong continued to advance.
 

When the company commander called in air strikes on his own position as a last resort, First Sergeant Sabalauski remained on his feet to control the beleaguered paratroopers. For 30 hours, he continued to dash from one side of the perimeter to the other to direct and encourage his men. Although he was wounded himself, First Sergeant Sabalauski aided his wounded comrades, comforted the dying, and continued to direct his men. When reinforcements arrived and a hasty perimeter was again set up, he fearlessly moved forward of the perimeter and retrieved a dead comrade. After a 1,000 meter move to an evacuation point, First Sergeant Sabalauski personally supervised the extraction of the wounded and dead. Through his courage and outstanding leadership throughout the long and perilous battle, he contributed immeasurable to the success of his mission.
 

First Sergeant Sabalauski's extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.Company C, 2d Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade, 101st Airborne Division. HQ USARV GO 5821 Sep 27, 66



Walter James Sabalauski was born in Lithuania in 1910.   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. 
 

Command Sergeant Major Sabalauski entered the 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 of 1966, Charlie Company, 2d Battalion, 502d 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, CPT 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.  1SG 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 evacuation the mass causalities, 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 2-502d Infantry Regiment.  Command Sergeant Major Sabalauski continued to serve until 1971 when he retired at the age of 61.
 

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's 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. 


 

 
     WJ Sabalauski PHOTO

 

   
Other Comments:

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

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WJ Sabalauski PHOTO

   
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Vietnam War/Counteroffensive Campaign (1965-66)
Start Year
1965
End Year
1966

Description
This campaign was from 25 December 1965 to 30 June 1966. United States operations after 1 July 1966 were a continuation of the earlier counteroffensive campaign. Recognizing the interdependence of political, economic, sociological, and military factors, the Joint Chiefs of Staff declared that American military objectives should be to cause North Vietnam to cease its control and support of the insurgency in South Vietnam and Laos, to assist South Vietnam in defeating Viet Cong and North Vietnamese forces in South Vietnam, and to assist South Vietnam in pacification extending governmental control over its territory.

North Vietnam continued to build its own forces inside South Vietnam. At first this was done by continued infiltration by sea and along the Ho Chi Minh trail and then, in early 1966, through the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). U.S. air elements received permission to conduct reconnaissance bombing raids, and tactical air strikes into North Vietnam just north of the DMZ, but ground forces were denied authority to conduct reconnaissance patrols in the northern portion of the DMZ and inside North Vietnam. Confined to South Vietnamese territory U.S. ground forces fought a war of attrition against the enemy, relying for a time on body counts as one standard indicator for measuring successful progress for winning the war.

During 1966 there were eighteen major operations, the most successful of these being Operation WHITE WING (MASHER). During this operation, the 1st Cavalry Division, Korean units, and ARVN forces cleared the northern half of Binh Dinh Province on the central coast. In the process they decimated a division, later designated the North Vietnamese 3d Division. The U.S. 3d Marine Division was moved into the area of the two northern provinces and in concert with South Vietnamese Army and other Marine Corps units, conducted Operation HASTINGS against enemy infiltrators across the DMZ.

The largest sweep of 1966 took place northwest of Saigon in Operation ATTLEBORO, involving 22,000 American and South Vietnamese troops pitted against the VC 9th Division and a NVA regiment. The Allies defeated the enemy and, in what became a frequent occurrence, forced him back to his havens in Cambodia or Laos.

By 31 December 1966, U.S. military personnel in South Vietnam numbered 385,300. Enemy forces also increased substantially, so that for the same period, total enemy strength was in excess of 282,000 in addition to an estimated 80,000 political cadres. By 30 June 1967, total U.S. forces in SVN had risen to 448,800, but enemy strength had increased as well.

On 8 January U.S. and South Vietnamese troops launched separate drives against two major VC strongholds in South Vietnam-in the so-called "Iron Triangle" about 25 miles northwest of Saigon. For years this area had been under development as a VC logistics base and headquarters to control enemy activity in and around Saigon. The Allies captured huge caches of rice and other foodstuffs, destroyed a mammoth system of tunnels, and seized documents of considerable intelligence value.

In February, the same U.S. forces that had cleared the "Iron Triangle", were committed with other units in the largest allied operation of the war to date, JUNCTION CITY. Over 22 U.S. and four ARVN battalions engaged the enemy, killing 2,728. After clearing this area, the Allies constructed three airfields; erected a bridge and fortified two camps in which CIDG garrisons remained as the other allied forces withdrew.
   
My Participation in This Battle or Operation
From Year
1965
To Year
1966
 
Last Updated:
May 18, 2009
   
Personal Memories
   
Units Participated in Operation

1st Cavalry Division (Unit of Action)

174th Assault Helicopter Company

I Corps/29th Civil Affairs Company

 
My Photos From This Battle or Operation
No Available Photos

  2335 Also There at This Battle:
  • Adkins, Bennie G., CSM, (1956-1978)
  • Allman, Timothy, SGT, (1965-1973)
  • Antalick, Steven, SGT, (1966-1967)
  • Anthony, Michael, SP 5, (1965-1967)
  • Arbuthnot, Frank, SP 6, (1963-1971)
  • Archuleta, Michael, SP 5, (1965-1968)
  • Arnett, Arthur, 1SG, (1962-1985)
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