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Bronze Star going to family of fallen in Vietnam War
Grace Kelly, left, stands with her daughter Martha Johannsen as the two hold a certificate for the Bronze Star that was awarded to their nephew and cousin Sgt. Robert Davenport for heroism during the Vietnam War. - photo by HIME ROMERO

Robert Davenport died 43 years ago while serving America in the Vietnam War.

On Sunday, a Bronze Star with the “V” Device for Valor from that fateful day on Feb. 7, 1969 is finally making its way to his family.

It will be presented on Veterans Day, Sunday, Nov. 11, at 9 a.m. at the Central Valley Baptist Church services on North Airport Way and again during 11 a.m. ceremonies conducted by the Veterans of Foreign War and America Legion at Library Park.

His family wants the ceremonies to be about all veterans from the Vietnam War and other conflicts as that is the way they said Davenport would have preferred it.

The Bronze Star presentation is just one of several ceremonies taking place Sunday and Monday in observance of Veterans Day in Manteca and Ripon.

• Brock Elliott Day celebration at the school named in honor of the first Manteca soldier to fall in Vietnam is today starting at 9:30 a.m. in the school courtyard, 1110 Stonum Lane.

• Flags over Manteca will place 2,400 flags along Manteca’s streets on Monday, Nov. 12, in observance of Veterans Day.

• Ripon’s third annual Veterans Day Ceremony will take place at 10:30 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 12, at Veterans Memorial Park, corner of Locust Avenue and So. First Street one block south of the city’s Main Street downtown area.

Davenport was serving as an Army sergeant in Vietnam on Feb. 7, 1969 when he caught a glimpse of movement in the thick jungle growth that would expose the point squad. He motioned to his radio operator in the direction of movement but due to almost imminent contact did not have time to alert the entire squad.

In complete disregard for his own safety, he moved toward the enemy before they could attack the unsuspecting point squad. He forced the enemy to expose their position thus saving the point squad from coming under devastating hostile fire. Sgt. Davenport paid the ultimate price for looking after his fellow soldiers and his country.

Davenport was one of 17 Manteca men who fell while serving America in Vietnam.