Coronado-based Vietnam veteran receives Silver Star posthumously

CORONADO (KUSI) — A Coronado-based Vietnam veteran was given one of the nation’s highest awards for battlefield bravery posthumously Tuesday at a special ceremony at Camp Pendleton.

His name was Philip H. Sauer and he was killed in Vietnam 51 years ago while protecting his patrol.

In 1967, then 25-year-old First Lieutenant Sauer was leading a group of four other marines up a hill to get a better vantage point when he was ambushed by a larger North Vietnamese army unit. He told the other Marines to run as he stayed back and fired at the other unit with only a pistol.

Sauer and three of the other Marines died that day.

Now — more than 50 years later — Sauer has been honored with the Silver Star, one of the nation’s highest awards for battlefield bravery.

Lieutenant Sauer’s family and friends were at the ceremony as well as the one marine that survived that terrible day.

Between the day Sauer died and today, his story was essentially forgotten until roughly two years ago when Sauer’s brother Tom ran into a man named Lieutenant David Little while surfing in La Jolla Cove.

The two discussed Sauer’s bravery and then began working to have him properly recognized and remembered as the American hero he was.

First Lieutenant Sauer is buried at Rosecrans Cemetery and his tombstone will be updated to note the honor.

Categories: Local San Diego News