CHICAGO (CBS) — Vietnam veterans gathered in Chicago on Thursday to remember the heroic and selfless act of a local teenager on the 50th anniversary of his death.

Surviving members of Milton Olive III’s squad got together for the first time since the war at Olive Park, near Navy Pier.

“He and I, we were real tight. I mean, you don’t get to be tight with a whole lot of guys, because they would come and go,” William Yates said of Olive, who threw himself on a grenade in Vietnam to save the lives of four members of his squad.

Olive, 18, was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions, becoming the first African American to receive the Medal of Honor in Vietnam. Olive-Harvey College is named in his honor, as well as that of fellow Medal of Honor recipient Carmel Harvey.

“He did what he felt like he had to do,” Yates said.

Ted Johnson said people should know Olive was a young black man who wanted to serve his country.

“This is special, because it’s 50 years that he did what he did, and it’s the anniversary of us going to Vietnam,” Johnson said.