It’s Etched in His Career Milestones

By | Feb 5, 2008

The first Tuesday of February 2008 is being called Super Tuesday when referring to the day as it relates to United States politics. On this day, Vietnam War veteran and Prisoner of War John McCain may take a big step towards gaining the Republic Party nomination for President. McCain would be the first and possibly the only Vietnam Vet to reach the White House.

The fifth of February is also a day that will be forever etched in the memory of the career of another Vietnam War Veteran. That was the day in 1974 that John Murtha became the first Vietnam veteran to become a member of the United States congress.

Congressman John P. Saylor had died in October 1973 and a special election was held for the 12th congressional district of Pennsylvania to complete Saylor’s term. Murtha won by just 122 votes. A year later he won his first full term easily and has won re-election 16 more times.

Murtha was a captain in the Marine Corps reserves when in 1966 he volunteered for duty in Vietnam. He served as an intelligence officer with the 1st Battalion receiving the Bronze Star, two Purple Hearts and the Vietnamese Cross for Gallantry.

He retired as a colonel from the United States Marine Corps reserve in 1990 after 37 years. The first sixteen years that he sat on congress he served his country in both the military and in congress.

Murtha continues to represent the people of Pennsylvania’s 12th congressional district and is once again running for re-election.

Representative Murtha died on February 8, 2010.


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