Platoon leader describes battle in Cambodia that merited Medal of Honor - 42 years later

Teb Stocks describes the heroism of fellow soldier Leslie Sabo, who was awarded the Medal of Honor on May 16, 2012, for his action in Cambodia during the Vietnam war 42 years earlier.

(CBS News) President Obama today awarded the Medal of Honor to Army specialist Leslie H Sabo, who was killed 42 years ago in the Vietnam War.

Sabo was being posthumously recognized for a series of acts of valor on day of his death that platoon leader Teb Stocks called "almost indescribable." Stocks' recommendation for Sabo's medal was lost for decades before a researcher found it in the National Archives.

GI killed in Vietnam War receives Medal of Honor
Video: President Obama awards posthumous Medal of Honor

CBS News correspondent David Martin interviewed Stocks for the CBS Evening News, and provides this account:

"When I picked Teb Stocks and his wife up at their hotel this morning for the interview, she whispered to me, "He'll do better if I come along." I wasn't sure what she was talking about, because he looked to me like he was doing fine.

But as soon as we started the interview, his entire demeanor changed. His voice quavered and his eyes misted. He was back in Cambodia, 42 years ago. You could feel his anger -- both at what happened that day in 1970 and at the subsequent loss of the recommendation to award Leslie Sabo the Medal of Honor.

I was no longer talking to the old man he has become but to the paratrooper he once was. I don't know if I've ever conducted a more powerful interview. As we drove back to their hotel, his wife told me that he has lived with that battle every day of their life together."

Below, watch an extended version of David Martin's interview with Teb Stocks:


  • David Martin

    David Martin is CBS News' National Security Correspondent.