In the first few months of 1968, U.S. Marine Corps veteran David Gidlof found himself besieged along with fellow Marines of the 26th Regiment in Khe Sanh in what was one of the longest and most intense sieges of the Vietnam War. Gidlof and his fellow Marines were saved after 77 days in large part due to the bombing efforts of B-52 bombers which led to reinforcements being able to enter the area and evacuate them. Gidlof swore that one day he would kiss the tires of a B-52 bomber that had saved his and so many other service member lives. Gidlof was awarded numerous commendations and purple hearts during his service with the U.S. Marine Corps.
After leaving the Marine Corps, Gidlof joined Tukwila PD (Badge #15) in 1973 and served until 1988. He retired at the rank of Sergeant due to medical complications from injuries related to his service. In the mid-70s, Gidlof encountered an individual who had loaded a rifle and was attempting to enter Southcenter Mall. Upon seeing Gidlof, the suspect opened fire. Gidlof pushed a woman nearby to safety and returned fire. He was struck by fragments from the suspects bullets and hospitalized. The suspect was taken into custody. For his actions, Gidlof earned the Medal of Valor and Purple Heart.
On May 21st, current and retired Tukwila officers arranged to make Gidlof’s wish of seeing a B-52 a reality. Gidlof was greeted at the Vietnam Memorial Garden at the The Museum of Flight by a cordon of current and former Tukwila officers, a U.S. Marine, King County Veterans Program representatives and Museum of Flight security staff. His son, a sergeant with Medina PD escorted him to the B-52 in the memorial garden where he was able to finally make his wish from over 50 years ago come true.
We are honored to have been able to assist with making this special moment possible. A big thank you to our retirees, the Museum of Flight, King County Veterans Program, former Chief of Police Bruce Linton and the U.S. Marine Corps, for making this special moment possible for a man who has given so much for our country and the Tukwila community.