ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — A college baseball player turned Army pilot received the honor of a life time last week. The St. Paul Saints named Harry Wisdom their Honored Hero of the Game. But it was who else was honored that day that made this award so special.

“I’ve been blessed I’ve been blessed my whole entire life I’ve been blessed,” Wisdom said.

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Wisdom’s faith has carried him through his 81 years of life. He served two tours in Vietnam as a medical evacuation pilot.

“There are missions that I fondly remember; one was May 16, 1970,” he said.

Wisdom was on mission to extract three critically injured soldiers in Cambodia.

“I hoisted up the first patient, I got the second patient up, started the third patient and the enemy had moved on me with a rocket-propelled grenade. They took out my main rooter and we just cam crashing down,” he said.

Wisdom, his crew and patients all survived the crash. In less than two days, they were rescued.

“I was taken back right to the theatre of operations — the TOC — and Gen. Schumaker slapped an award on me,” he said.

Not only was Wisdom awarded the Silver Star, he earned three awards of Distinguished Flying Crosses, two Bronze Stars, two Purple Hearts, and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry.

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But the best thing that happened to Wisdom in Vietnam sits next to him, and has been for the past 52 years. Then 1st Lt. Kathy Brown was a nurse at the 24th Evacuation Hospital in Long Binh, Vietnam. She extended her stay for a month so they could come home together.

(credit: CBS)

“I told my parents I just needed some dresses, because we were going on R&R, and I didn’t tell them a specific one, just several, and one of them was the white dress,” Kathy Wisdom said.

On Oct. 14, 1970, the couple married in Vietnam before returning to the U.S.

That’s why when the St. Paul Saints told Harry Wisdom he would be recognized as their Honored Hero of the Game, he knew what he had to do. He brought his bride — a Bronze Star awardee for her service in combat — to the game, and surprised her when she was named the Honored Heroine of the Game.

“They don’t get recognized enough. Women served for the same reason we did, in whatever capacity, they went and served our country for the same reason. They deserve that recognition,” he said.

Both say there are so many veterans out there who should be recognized for their service in Vietnam, and they are happy to accept this honor for all of those who served.

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The Wisdoms have four children and eight grandchildren.

Reg Chapman