It is with regret that we report the passing of one of our authors last Friday (Nov. 14), Jerry Krizan, who along with co-author Robert Dumont penned an outstanding wartime memoir for us last spring—BAC SI: A Green Beret Medic’s War in Vietnam.
It strikes us as typical of Jerry’s modesty that during the months-long editorial/production process we had no idea he was struggling with cancer. He never said, and we only learned of his demise today. Nevertheless we’ve been ensured by Robert and others that the publication of his memoir brought good happiness to him during his last months.
Born in Detroit and thereafter nearly a lifelong resident of Kalamazoo, Michigan, Jerry enjoyed a successful career as an accountant for 30 years, from the 1970s onward. He had a terrific family, including his wife Sue and daughter Mary who is a professor of philosophy at University of Wisconsin at La Crosse. His local obituary states:
“He enjoyed gardening, reading, and being a Mr. Fixit. He served his country in the United States Army during the Vietnam War.”
We at Casemate can perhaps add a little more. Jerry was not always simply a citizen of Kalamazoo. When young, he was also called by our government to Indochina, where he served as a Green Beret with the 5th Special Forces Group near the Cambodian border. Here is an excerpt from his commendation for the Bronze Star (with Valor):
“During a multi-regimental attack on Loc Ninh Special Forces Camp by the North Vietnamese Army using rockets, artillery and ground probes, Sergeant Krizan, with complete disregard for his own personal safety, moved through the explosions and ground fire to aid wounded Camp Strike Force soldiers. Sergeant Krizan exposed himself again when he dragged a wounded soldier from the direct line of enemy fire. When the ground probe became extremely close to actual entrance through the wire and into the camp, Sergeant Krizan was sent to the weakest point in the wire, where he continually exposed himself to the fire in order to better fire his M-16 rifle to halt the enemy advance into the camp. Sergeant Krizan remained in position until all threat was quelled, at which time he returned to the emergency medical bunker to treat the wounded.”
So such was the task of a Green Beret medic on our frontier outposts in Vietnam. The Loc Ninh camp eventually fell to the NVA, but not while Sgt. Krizan was there. It is with pleasure that we see citizens like Jerry honored by the communities in which they’ve been longtime admirable citizens. But at Casemate we realize that gallant individuals such as he often have other stories to tell when called upon to serve their nation.
It was fortunate for us to have been able to tell the story of Jerry (when younger, Sergeant) Krizan.