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eMedals-United States. A Sidecap & Insignia to Colonel Nathan Vail, 25th Infantry, Vietnam and Cambodia.

Item: M0215-66

United States. A Sidecap & Insignia to Colonel Nathan Vail, 25th Infantry, Vietnam and Cambodia.

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United States. A Sidecap & Insignia to Colonel Nathan Vail, 25th Infantry, Vietnam and Cambodia.

United States. A Sidecap & Insignia to Colonel Nathan Vail, 25th Infantry, Vietnam and Cambodia. United States. USAF Sidecap, blue polyester and wool, 290mm (w) x 122mm (h) folded, interior stamped FLIGHT ACE, overall very fine condition, accompanied by a Colonel Army Rank Eagle Pin, white metal, 25mm (w) x 12mm (h), reverse embossed N.S. MEYER INC/ NEW YORK and bears two vertical pins with tie tack clasps, very fine condition; 29th Infantry Brigade Combat Team Unit Crest, bronze gilt with blue and red enamels, 22mm (w) x 27mm (h), reverse bears two vertical pins, loss of gilt around edges, near very fine condition; 29th Infantry Brigade Combat Team Shoulder Patch, white, blue and red embroidery, 49mm (w) x 75mm (h), very fine condition. Both insignia attached to framed letter from Colonel Ellsworth M. Bush to Colonel Vail.

Accompanied by Vail’s promotion certificates for Second Lieutenant dated January 31 1955, First Lieutenant, dated February 1 1958, First Lieutenant Regular Army July 8 1958, and Captain Regular Army July 8 1962; black and white photograph of a tower and palm tree; one black and white photo of a group of men sitting on steps.

Footnote: Nathan Columbus Vail rose quickly through the ranks, from second lieutenant (promoted January 31 1955) to Captain in the Regular Army on July 8, 1962. He was a part of the 29th infantry which was instituted on January 15, 1959 at Honolulu. It was the largest unit of the Hawaiian National Guard and was ordered into federal service on May 13, 1968 to serve in Vietnam.

Vail is mentioned in “Into Cambodia” by Keith Nolan, an account of the 1970 springtime campaigns by the Americans in South Vietnam and Cambodia. On May 24, Colonel Vail arrived near Thein Ngon, where the Triple Deuce (who joined the 25th Infantry, 3rd Brigade in August 1967) was resting. Vail was quickly assessed as tough, brash and egocentric, a paratrooper who was a stickler for conventional doctrine. On May 25, he led the Alpha, Bravo and Charlie battalions of the Triple Deuce back in Cambodia.

In 1973, Vail was a director of the leadership department at the Infantry School located at Fort Benning, Georgia. He is identified in the “Infantry” booklet, dated June 1974 (Volume 64, no. 3). Following his service, Vail participated in Tom Philpott’s “Glory Denied” an oral history regarding Jim Thompson, America’s longest-held POW. Thompson’s first assignment after returning home was at Fort Benning, where he and Vail were on-post neighbours for one year.

Later in his career, Vail became the Commander of the 25th Infantry Division, 2nd Brigade of the Schofield Barracks in Hawaii, where he aided the readiness of the infantry. He also played a role in helping Colonel Ellsworth M. Bush creation of ‘One Army’ in Hawaii. Eventually, Vail was promoted to Brigadier-General.

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