By Your Houston News

 

The Crosby Post Office was renamed the Army First Sergeant David McNerney Post Office Building in a public dedication ceremony held on March 22.

 

The ceremony was led by U.S. Rep. Ted Poe who filed legislation last year to rename the facility, located at 133 Hare Rd., after McNerney, a long-time Crosby resident and Congressional Medal of Honor recipient.

 

“That’s why we are here today; to honor him and the veterans that have served anywhere in the world for our country,” said Poe.

 

He explained the heroic actions taken in Vietnam by McNerney which led him to earn the Congressional Medal of Honor in 1968.

 

Poe said that McNerney’s company was sent into Vietnam to retrieve a reconnaissance team and came under enemy fire.

 

“Forty six years ago, there were 108 in that company, 23 were killed and 43 were wounded,” said Poe. “Over 500 of the enemy were killed that day. These men and their families will never forget it and we in America will never forget.”

 

McNerney was wounded by a grenade and his first commander was killed.

 

“The area was thickly forested so he had to climb a tree to direct artillery fire,” said Poe. “He destroyed a machine gun post. He pulled the wounded to safety. McNerney had a chance to evacuate that evening, but he did not.”

 

Many of the men that served with McNerney that were involved in the battle attended the renaming ceremony.

 

Don Rawlinson was flying a helicopter that fateful day in Vietnam.

 

“We were the second helicopter,” he said. “The first helicopter was shot down in the first 30 minutes of the engagement. We flew 11-and-a-half hours that day. We got onsite at 8 a.m. and were taking out the wounded until after dark. We got all the wounded out that day except the First Sgt. (McNerney).”

 

Rawlinson said that he was told by others that day that there was one more man that was wounded, but refused to be evacuated.

 

“They told me it was the First Sgt.,” he said. “He would not leave. We couldn’t get him on board. He said no and that was the final answer. He was a man of few words.”

 

Rawlinson said that he finally met McNerney in 1998 at a reunion. He explained why he thought McNerney would not leave the battlefield.

 

“I think it speaks highly of his love for his men; his care and concern,” he said. “He always considered them his boys. He took them all through training. He spent a year with them and became attached to them. They lived together in the jungle for nine months. They counted on each other for their lives.”

 

Poe told the audience that the battle began at 7:30 a.m. and ended at 4:30 p.m.

 

“It was a long battle,” said Poe. “This was not his first rodeo, as we say in Texas. He was one of the first 500 sent to Vietnam as an ‘advisor’ by President Kennedy in 1962.” McNerney served two tours of duty in Korea and four tours of duty in Vietnam.

 

After leaving the military, McNerney served in the U.S. Customs Service in the Port of Houston.

 

“He was involved in the Crosby High School JROTC and the American Legion,” said Poe.

 

He noted the overwhelming bipartisanship that was involved in renaming the post office.

 

“It takes a law to name a post office,” said Poe.

 

He explained that not only did all 32 members of Congress in Texas sign on as original co-sponsors, but every member of the House and every U.S. Senator signed the bill. Poe thanked U.S. Senator John Cornyn for his efforts in the Senate to obtain signatures.

 

“Every member of Congress agreed to name this post office in Crosby, Texas in honor of David McNerney,” said Poe. “They honored you and every member that served in Vietnam. It was a great event when the President signed this into law.”

 

The ceremony also included musical performances by the Crosby High School Band. Following the ceremony, a reception was held at the Crosby American Legion David H. McNerney Post 658 for the veterans that served with him, his friends and family.