WASHINGTON — Leslie Sabo’s Vietnam War ended in the flash of his own grenade, hurled at an enemy bunker in Cambodia to save surrounded comrades. Forty years later — and a dozen years after the long-lost paperwork turned up in military archives — he was honored by President Obama on Wednesday with the nation’s highest award for gallantry.
Obama presented the Medal of Honor to Sabo’s widow, Rose Mary, and said doing so helps right the wrongs done to a generation that served freedom’s cause but came home to a brooding and resentful nation.
Spc. Leslie H. Sabo Jr. of Elwood City, Pa., was serving with U.S. forces near the village of Se San in eastern Cambodia in May 1970 when his unit was ambushed and nearly overrun by North Vietnamese forces.
Comrades testified that the rifleman charged up from the rear, grabbed an enemy grenade and tossed it away, using his body to shield a fellow soldier. Shrugging off his injuries, Sabo advanced on an enemy bunker that had poured fire onto the U.S. troops — and then, pulled the pin on his own grenade.
“It’s said he held that grenade and didn’t throw it until the last possible moment, knowing it would take his own life but knowing he could silence that bunker,” Obama recounted. “And he did. He saved his comrades, who meant more to him than life.”
After the ceremony, Rose Mary Sabo-Brown told reporters, “I know a piece of cloth and a medal won’t bring him back, but my heart beams with pride for Leslie because he is finally receiving tribute for his sacrifices and bravery,” she said.
Researchers link health to education gap
Higher levels of education in the United States correlate with longer life expectancy and less obesity, according to the government’s annual health report.
Obesity, which leads to chronic ailments such as diabetes and heart disease, was twice as high among boys and three times as high for girls in families whose head of household lacked a degree compared with more educated households. The report was released Wednesday by the National Center for Health Statistics.
As of 2006, a 25-year-old man without a college degree lived 9.3 fewer years than a peer with a bachelor’s degree or higher; for women, the less-educated lived 8.6 fewer years, according to the report. The life expectancy gap by education widened by 1.9 years for men and 2.8 years for women from 1996 to 2006, the report said.
Education level and income are interconnected, though the overlap isn’t perfect, as it’s possible to be well-educated and poor, Amy Bernstein, a health services researcher and lead study author, said.
Poverty is tied to the greatest health disparities. In 2005 to 2010, depression among those 20 to 64 was five times as high for those below the poverty line as those whose incomes were 400 percent or more above it. Toothlessness in adults older than 45 was also five times higher in those living below the poverty line, compared with those who made at least 400 percent more than poverty level.
The report also found an increase in the number of young adults without health insurance and more people going without care or medication because they didn’t have enough money.
The number of people 18 to 44 who were uninsured rose to 27 percent in 2010 from 22 percent in 2000, while those on Medicaid, the U.S. program that pays for health care for the poor, almost doubled to 11 percent, according to the report. Young adults up to age 26 now can be covered by their parents’ insurance as part of the 2010 U.S. health law.
Price of oil still falling as supplies grow
NEW YORK — The price of oil continues to decline on the expectation that world markets will be flush with extra supplies this year.
Benchmark U.S. crude on Wednesday fell by $1.17 to finish at a seven-month low of $92.81 per barrel in New York. Oil is down nearly 13 percent since the beginning of May.
Brent crude, which helps set the price of oil imported into the U.S., fell by $1.70 to finish at $109.75 per barrel in London.
Prices fell as a report showed that U.S. crude supplies had climbed to the highest level in 22 years. Supplies grew last week by 2.1 million barrels, according to the Energy Information Administration. That’s a bigger increase than analysts expected, and more could be on the way.