Silver Star Medal (1) Awarded to a person who, while serving in any capacity with the Navy or Marine Corps, is cited for gallantry in action that does not warrant a Medal of Honor or Navy Cross. (a) While engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States; (b) While engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force; or (c) While serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in an armed conflict against an opposing armed force in which the United States is not a belligerent party. (2) The heroic act(s) performed must render the individual conspicuous and well above the standard expected. An accumulation of minor acts of heroism normally does not justify the award, but unusual or exceptional cases will be decided on their merits. Authorization 10 U.S.C. S6244
The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star to Electronics Technician Third Class James Terry Halbardier, United States Navy, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action while serving on board the U.S.S. LIBERTY (AGTR-5), on 8 June 1967.
The U.S.S. LIBERTY was attacked by Israeli aircraft and motor torpedo boats in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea on the fourth day of the SIX DAY WAR. Petty Officer Halbardier, without hesitation and with complete disregard for his own personal safety, fearlessly and repeatedly exposed himself to overwhelming rocket and machinegun fire to repair a damaged antenna in an open deck area during heavy aerial attacks.
Aware that all of the ship’s transmitting antennas had been destroyed and that communication with higher authority depended upon antenna repair, Petty Officer Halbardier risked his life to run connecting coaxial cable across open decks from the antenna to the main transmitter room.
His efforts allowed the ship to establish communications with distant elements of the SIXTH Fleet and call for assistance.
Despite being wounded, Petty Officer Halbardier ignored his injuries until the antenna had been repaired and the call for help had been received and acknowledged.
His courageous actions were critical in alerting distant Navy commanders to the ship’s need for assistance and were instrumental in saving the ship and hundreds of lives.
Petty Officer Halbardier’s outstanding display of decisive leadership, unrelenting perseverance, and loyal devotion to duty reflected great credit upon him and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.
Robert Lee Wilson, 78, a resident of Edgewater for over 20 years and previously of Severna Park, MD, passed away on August 2, 2021 at the South River Health and Rehabilitation Center from complications of pneumonia and ongoing health and back-related maladies that ultimately took his life.
Born in Big Stone Gap, VA on March 8, 1943, Robert had a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland, and a Master’s of Science of Strategic Intelligence degree from the Defense Intelligence College. One of his most profound moments in life was his time spent on the USS Liberty especially June 8th 1967. Robert served his country in the U.S. Air Force. Prior to retiring in the early 2000s, he was a long-tenured employee of the National Security Agency.
In addition to being a sports and physical fitness enthusiast, his greatest hobby and joy was archeology and history. He’d also served many years with the American Research Center in Egypt as its Vice President, and developed a tremendous group of friends he always cherished.
Robert was a loving, caring father and husband. His level of empathy, good common sense, humor and humility knew no bounds. We all were fortunate to have him in our lives.
He is survived by his spouse of over 39 years, My Kieu Wilson; two children, Kevin Wilson and Kelly Gaestel and their respective families.
Relatives and friends are invited to celebrate Robert’s life at the Kalas Funeral Home & Crematory, 2973 Solomons Island Road, Edgewater, MD on Saturday August 7 from 2 to 4 pm.
USS Liberty Survivor Ron Trader. Rest in Peace Shipmate
The relationship between USS Liberty survivors in unique among American military units. The death of one of us is not only a sad event, it tears a hole in the heart of each of us who remains.
by Joe Meadors
Another USS Liberty survivor has died without knowing that the truth surrounding the ultimate sacrifice of 34 of his shipmates is held publicly and in honor by the very government they swore “to preserve, protect and defend against all enemies, foreign and domestic.”
I didn’t know Ron Trader. He was a CT, a Communications Technician who worked in the “Research Spaces” that were entered through a locked door. Those of us in “ship’s company” didn’t mingle with many of them while we were aboard the ship.
In the past 52 years all USS Liberty survivors have shifted from shipmates to family.