Pubdate: Thu, 11 Nov 1999
Source: Daily Star (NY)
Copyright: 1999 The Daily Star
Contact:  607-432-5847
Author: Walter F. Wouk, Cobleskill
Note: The author, a Vietnam veteran, is president of Capital Region NORML.


On April 1, 1970, Specialist 4th Class Peter C. Lemon was serving as an
assistant machine gunner with the U.S. Army at Fire Support Base
Illingworth in Tay Ninh Province, South Vietnam, when the base came under
heavy enemy attack.

Lemon fought off a numerically superior enemy with machine gun and rifle
fire from his defensive position until both weapons malfunctioned. He then
used hand grenades to fend off the intensified enemy attack launched in his
direction. After eliminating all but one of the enemy soldiers in the
vicinity, he pursued and disposed of the remaining soldier in hand-to-hand

Despite wounds from an exploding grenade, Lemon regained his position,
carried a more seriously wounded comrade to an aid station, and, as he
returned, was wounded a second time by enemy fire. Disregarding his
injuries, he moved to his position through a hail of small arms and grenade
fire and was wounded a third time, but his efforts drove the enemy from the

Securing a machine gun, Lemon stood atop an embankment exposed to enemy
fire, and fired upon the enemy until he collapsed from his multiple wounds
and exhaustion. After regaining consciousness at the aid station, he
refused medical evacuation until more seriously wounded comrades had been

Lemon was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his actions. After
receiving this nation's highest honor he told reporters that he was
"stoned" on marijuana the night of the battle.

I don't know if Lemon still uses marijuana but if he does, he should be
aware that the Republican Party wants to put him in jail. The Republican
Party's national platform on drugs states, "We support strong penalties for
drug-related crimes." That includes using marijuana and that includes
Vietnam veterans like Peter Lemon.

Walter F. Wouk, Cobleskill

Wouk, a Vietnam veteran, is president of Capital Region NORML.

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