HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - A Bronze Star, Order of the Purple Heart and other medals awarded to a USM ROTC graduate killed in Vietnam in 1965 have been given to the university by a close friend and fellow soldier. The medals awarded to Earl D. "Butch" Aull were presented to Southern Miss ROTC's Golden Eagle Battalion during a ceremony on the Hattiesburg campus Saturday morning.
They were given to the university by Jesse L. "Bud" Alley, a fellow soldier who served with Aull in Vietnam.
Aull was killed in action during the Battle of Ia Drang, considered to be the first major ground battle of the Vietnam War. He was a 1964 USM graduate and also completed the university's ROTC program.
Alley, who also fought in the Battle of Ia Drang, was given Aull's medals when his mother passed away.
"This young man's sacrifice of his life that held so much promise will serve as a reminder to others that are serving that their sacrifice won't be in vain and it won't be forgotten," said Alley.
"It's a great honor, I love being able to have this example for our cadets," said Lt. Col. Joseph Worley, professor of military science at USM.
Saturday's ceremony was part of Military Appreciation Day at Southern Miss.
Aull is buried in Metarie, Louisiana.