His paternal grandfather is from the town of Našice on the North of Croatia
Paul "Buddy" Bucha
Paul Bucha was born on August 1, 1943, in Washington, D.C. He is of Croatian descent; his paternal grandfather immigrated to the United States from the Croatian town of Našice. He graduated from Ladue Horton Watkins High School in 1961. An all-American swimmer in high school, Bucha was offered athletic scholarships to several universities but turned them down and attended the United States Military Academy at West Point. After graduation he earned a Master of Business Administration at Stanford University before beginning his military career at Fort Campbell.
Bucha was sent to Vietnam in 1967 as a captain and commander of Company D, 3rd Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment. On March 16, 1968, he and his company of 89 men were dropped by helicopter southwest of Phuoc Vinh, in Bing Duong Province. The area was believed to be a North Vietnamese stronghold and Bucha's unit was tasked with seeking out and engaging the enemy forces. For two days Company D encountered light resistance as it cleared North Vietnamese positions. On the afternoon of March 18, the company's lead group of about twelve men stumbled upon a full North Vietnamese army battalion that had stopped to camp for the night. The lead element came under heavy fire and was pinned down. Bucha crawled toward them and destroyed a North Vietnamese bunker. He returned to the company perimeter and ordered a withdrawal to a more defensible position. Throughout the night he encouraged his men, distributed ammunition, and directed artillery and helicopter gunship fire. At one point he stood exposed and used flashlights to direct helicopters which were evacuating the wounded and bringing in supplies. The next morning, as the North Vietnamese forces withdrew, he led a party to rescue those soldiers who had been cut off from the rest of the company.
Once his tour in the Vietnam War ended in April 1970, Bucha returned to the United States and taught Political Science at West Point. It was during this time that he learned he had been awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions in the battle near Phuoc Vinh. The medal was presented to him on May 14, 1970, by President Richard Nixon.