When Col. Melvin Garten retired from the Army in 1968, officials said he was the most decorated colonel in the force.
He also was two years removed from death in the jungles of Vietnam.
After being blown up by a Viet Cong mine, Col. Garten had no pulse and a drastically reduced temperature when he was brought to a field hospital in Nha Trang.
But the officer, who had begun his career as an enlisted soldier at the beginning of World War II, didn't stop fighting. And quick-working Army surgeons revived Col. Garten even after they had proclaimed him deceased.
Col. Garten, 93, died May 2 at his home in Lake Oswego, Oregon.
When Col. Garten retired at Fort Bragg, he held many of the Army's top medals, including the nation's second highest award - the Distinguished Service Cross, as well as three Silver Stars, five Purple Hearts, four Bronze Stars, the Legion of Merit, two Joint Commendation Medals and two Air Medals.
His last position was as chief of staff for the 12th Support Brigade.
In an interview in 1968 with the Observer, Col. Garten said his wife, Ruth, had received notice of his being wounded, missing or dead on seven occasions.
Those dances with death cost him more than just a leg.
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