Special Forces MIA awarded Silver Star


running up that hill
Jan 3, 2007
in Wonderland, with my Alice
YERBA BUENA ISLAND, Calif. (USASOC News Service, Apr. 20, 2008) - The journey that began more than 41 years ago to recognize a Special Forces sergeant that went missing in the jungles of Vietnam came to a close Apr. 19 with the presentation of the Green Beret’s Silver Star to his mother.

Staff Sgt. Roger Hallberg was the point man Mar. 24, 1967 on a mission deep behind enemy lines when a force estimated to be in the hundreds ambushed him and the men of Special Forces Detachment A-302. His actions that day saved the lives of other Americans and the indigenous force he was working with. Roger, who led a counterattack while the main element pulled back, was never heard from again. He was later listed as missing in action.

The awarding of the nation’s third highest medal for valor “brings some resolution” to Anne Hallberg Holt, sister of the missing Green Beret. However, it does not bring closure to what happened to her brother.

The medal was presented to 88-year-old Doris Cobb Hallberg, Roger’s mother, by Maj. Gen. Thomas R. Csrnko, commander of the U.S. Army Special Forces Command. With clutching hands, she gripped the citation and medal case with her two progenies in the shadow of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter George Cobb.

The ship is named after Roger's grandfather, who, in 1896, rescued three sailors while keeping a lighthouse at California's Point Bonita.
George Cobb was awarded the Silver Lifesaving Medal for his heroism. It is the Coast Guard’s equivalent to the Silver Star.

Holt said even though it was a “sad situation” that has linked the heroism of her grandfather and brother together, she is proud of the accomplishments of her grandfather and brother.

Csrnko described the family as “amazing,” and said that Cobb and Roger “are cut from the same cloth.”

Retired Capt. James P. Monaghan followed Csrnko. Monaghan served with Roger in Vietnam. During his speech, Monaghan described a combat rookie’s typical reaction to an ambush and that Hallberg was not that type of person.

“When the U.S. is at war, we can manufacture and purchase the best and most expensive weaponry in the world,” said Monaghan. “But, you can never purchase (Hallberg’s) courage.”

“Where is he?”

Hallberg’s family first received word of his status in 1967 while they were living in Venezuela. The head of the family, Lewis Hallberg, was stationed there while working for Chevron Oil. It was there that the search for information regarding Hallberg’s incident began.

“As time went on, I hoped they would find him,” said Doris. “I kept thinking, ‘where is he?’

A few years later, the Hallbergs’ moved back to the United States. In a quest that led the family to the North Vietnamese consulate in France decades ago to Washington D.C., the Hallbergs’ carried on a search for information on Roger’s disappearance.

The manhunt for those who might be able to shed some light on the situation took a turn about five years ago when the Hallberg family met with John M. Throckmorton, a former Special Forces Soldier that served with Roger on that early spring day. In talking with the Hallberg’s, Throckmorton realized that the award recommendation he had submitted years before never made it through the system.

In a letter re-recommending Roger for the award, Throckmorton described the hell Roger was last seen in.

“I witnessed (Staff Sgt.) Hallberg expose himself to this intense fire in an effort to coordinate an effective response. At least twice he ran through the maelstrom to deliver tactical information to (Capt.) Stewart. He then fought his way forward, returning to his troops in an effort to rally them and mount a coordinated response to the enemy. It looked as if he were running through a blizzard of confetti, which in fact was leaves, bits of bark and clumps of earth churned up by enemy fire,” wrote Throckmorton.

That was the last time Roger was seen alive.

His actions diverted the attention of two battalions of communists enough to create an opening that his comrades escaped through. After a day evading the enemy, the Americans and Vietnamese partisans were safely evacuated from the area by helicopter. Hallberg and his commander were placed on a MIA status shortly after the mission.

Tough and Determined

Holt describes her brother as a “tough and determined” individual who could overcome anything he set his mind to. Roger started his career outdoors as an Eagle Scout and later went on to graduate from the University of Oregon with a degree in forestry.

It was Roger’s determination that led to his siblings’ mission to find out what happened to their brother.

With the help of Throckmorton, the family has been able to direct the Joint Prisoners of War and Missing in Action Accounting Command to the area Roger was last seen in.

In the search for Roger, Holt says she has become an advocate in spreading the word on prisoners of war and those missing in action. She has spoken publicly about he brother across the country in an effort to make people aware of POWs and MIAs.

“There is no closure for us,” said Holt. “We can not give up. This chapter is not closed until everyone comes home.”

With the help of Throckmorton and JPAC, the Hallberg family may soon find word on status of their brother and son. The Command has informed them that a mission will be searching the area Roger was last seen next year.

http://news.soc.mil/releases/News Archive/2008/April/080420-04.html


Maj. Gen. Thomas Csrnko (left), commander of U.S Special Forces Command presents the Silver Star Apr. 19 at Yerba Buena Island, Calif. to Doris Hallberg, mother of Staff Sgt. Roger Hallberg, a Special Forces Soldier that became missing in action during the Vietnam War. Accepting the award with Doris’ is Ann Hallberg Holt (far right) and Bruce Hallberg, both siblings of Roger. The award was presented 41 years after Roger’s disappearance. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Andrew Kosterman, 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne))

Staff Sgt. Roger Hallberg’s Silver Star and accompanying citation. Hallberg became missing in action after fighting Mar. 24, 1967 in Vietnam.(Photo by Staff Sgt. Andrew Kosterman, 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne))