Weber's ROTC honors Vietnam hero

Thacker receives a gift from WSU's ROTC program. (Emily Crooks/ The Signpost)
Thacker receives a gift from WSU’s ROTC program. (Emily Crooks/ The Signpost)

Brian M. Thacker, an alumnus of Weber State University, returned to speak about his time at WSU, his service in Vietnam and the events that led him to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor.

A room filled with an emotional audience gave Thacker the platform to lead a discussion for students, staff, faculty and members of the Ogden community.

Thacker attended Weber State during the 1960s, graduating in ’69. During his time at Weber State, Thacker was part of the Army ROTC program.

Following his time at WSU, he was commissioned as a first lieutenant. Thacker would then go on to serve in Vietnam in the 1st Battalion, 92nd Artillery.

In 1971, Thacker was put in charge of a six-man observation team, who found themselves under attack from the Vietnamese. At one point, there was a break in the fighting and the group planned to get themselves to the nearest extraction point.

Amidst all the chaos, Thacker found himself alone for eight days in the jungle. During those eight days, Thacker went without food or water.

Eventually Thacker was able to make it back to safety and was then allowed to “stop surviving and start recovering.”

Brian M. Thacker speaks about his service in Vietnam.(Emily Crooks/ The Signpost)
Brian M. Thacker speaks about his service in Vietnam.(Emily Crooks/ The Signpost)

Two years after the incident, Thacker was presented with the Congressional Medal of Honor on Oct. 15th, 1973 by President Nixon.

“This isn’t a ‘me’ award,” Thacker told audience members. “This is an ‘us’ award.”

Thacker explained that awards like this are always given to “one individual out of a group that was in the same place, doing the same thing and being shot at by the same people.”

Mara Wandrey, the Cadet Battalion Commander, found the advice Thacker gave about working with a team very helpful. “It’s about building off of the opportunities you can provide for your men,” said Wandrey. “By doing that, you give them the ability for self-development.”

Thacker allowed the discussion to turn into an interactive experience for the audience by allowing audience members to ask questions throughout his speech.

During his presentation, Thacker addressed the issues that come with post-traumatic stress disorder. He hopes that, in the future, there will be better treatment available for those who suffer from the disorder.

Senior MS4 Cadet Tai Nguyen enjoyed the focus Thacker put on helping civilians understand the struggles faced by members of the armed forces.

“Mr. Thacker is a very honorable and intelligent individual,” Nguyen commented. “He helps civilians understand the stressors that are put on military personnel.”

The Army ROTC presented Thacker with a gift following his presentation. The event was sponsored by the Army ROTC and the College of Social & Behavioral Sciences.