House Representative

Stephenson, Phil

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 02/28/2013

Stephenson and Hegar to honor Master Sargent Calfee, posthumously at the Capitol in Austin

Master Sargent James H. Calfee was born on January 5, 1932 and grew up in Newgulf, Texas. Upon graduating from Boling High School in Wharton County, James decided to enlist in the Air Force to avoid forcibly being drafted into the infantry in the wake of the Vietnam War.

M.Sgt. Calfee was chosen for a special top secret operation in Laos, Vietnam that is now known as Lima Site 85. Site 85 was a secret base that was overrun by the North Vietnamese Army on March 11, 1968. The base was not even supposed to be armed, as they were considered "civilians." However, these "civilians" were given M-16s by CIA agents responsible for the safety and protection of the site. M.Sgt. James Calfee and Chief M.Sgt. Richard Etchberger helped train the men as best as possible without the opportunity for live fire training.

On March 11 the men found themselves fighting for their survival.

Eleven out of the 15 Airmen lost their lives that day; with eight bodies never to be found or returned to the U.S., including M.Sgt. James H. Calfee. The men were all awarded the Bronze Star. Eyewitnesses to the attack testified to M.Sgt. Calfee's valiant actions, stating that he remained fighting for the safety of his brothers -in-arms, despite being fatally injured himself. The family petitioned to have his Bronze Star upgraded to the Silver Star. Congressman Ron Paul approved this.

In 2012 M.Sgt. Calfee was upgraded to a Silver Star and his family recognized in Lake Jackson, Texas. On March 6, 2013, just five days short of the 45th anniversary of the attack on Lima Site 85, State Representative Phil Stephenson will present to Master Sargent James H. Calfee's family in Austin, Texas, together with Senator Glenn Hegar, a resolution to memorialize M.Sgt. Calfee's valiant fight and posthumous award of the Silver Star.