ST. PETE BEACH, Fla. – More than 100 people from St. Pete Beach and surrounding areas came out to support a local man and witness the dedication and renaming ceremony of the Bayway Bridge to the Medal of Honor CSM Gary Littrell
Causeway Bridge, March 28.
St. Pete Beach Mayor Maria Lowe honored U.S. Army Command Sgt. Maj. (Ret.) Gary Littrell of St. Pete Beach by having the Bayway Bridge re-dedicated in his honor. In October 2014, the four lane high-level fixed bridge was completed and replaced a two lane bascule bridge built in 1962.
“It’s a rare occasion that you get to dedicate a bridge, much less dedicate it as the Medal of Honor Bridge. If there is one thing that CSM Gary Littrell has taught me, it is to have courage and never lose faith,” said Lowe.
Littrell received the Medal of Honor when he was a sergeant first class serving as an advisor to the Army of the Republic of Vietnam's Ranger units during the Vietnam War.
According to Littrell’s Medal of Honor Citation, “On April 4, 1970, after 473 South Vietnamese Rangers ran into a concentration of approximately five thousand enemy troops, they established a defensive perimeter on a hill against a ferocious mortar attack.”
After four long days and nights, surrounded and fending off assaults, Littrell displayed superhuman endurance, selflessness and courage, his citation explains. Littrell repeatedly exposed himself to enemy fire as he crawled and ran from position to position around the defensive perimeter carrying and distributing ammunition, strengthening faltering defenses, caring for the wounded, shouting encouragement to the Vietnamese in their own language, and calling in airstrikes, sometimes within 55 yards of their position.
“Littrell acted with extraordinary courage and selflessness during a four day siege on his battalion,” the citation read.
As a member of the St. Pete Beach community, Littrell doesn’t consider himself a hero at all.
“When I look at this bridge I don’t see it named after me or in my honor, it’s to say thank you to every man and woman among us and to those who have ever served in the military,” Littrell went on to say.”
“It is for the ones who died for freedom because freedom is not free; it has been paid for by every battle since our country was born,” he said.
Littrell served his country and the United States Army for more than 24 years.