previous post next post  

Today's Medal of Honor Moment for 25 February

There are two Medals awarded for actions on this day.  Both from Vietnam, and both posthumous.

Vietnam.  Two examples of self-sacrifice for others.  The first one just kinda pisses me off.  Not at Staff Sergeant Connor, but at the nameless people who made that grenade.
*CONNOR, PETER S.

Rank and organization: Staff Sergeant, U.S. Marine Corps, Company F, 2d Battalion, 3d Marines, 1st Marine Division (Rein), FMF. Place and date: Quang Nag Ngai Province, Republic of Vietnam, 25 February 1966. Entered service at: South Orange, NJ. Born: 4 September 1932, Orange, N.J. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action against enemy Viet Cong forces at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Leading his platoon on a search and destroy operation in an area made particularly hazardous by extensive cave and tunnel complexes, S/Sgt. Connor maneuvered his unit aggressively forward under intermittent enemy small-arms fire. Exhibiting particular alertness and keen observation, he spotted an enemy spider hole emplacement approximately 15 meters to his front. He pulled the pin from a fragmentation grenade intending to charge the hole boldly and drop the missile into its depths. Upon pulling the pin he realized that the firing mechanism was faulty, and that even as he held the safety device firmly in place, the fuse charge was already activated. With only precious seconds to decide, he further realized that he could not cover the distance to the small opening of the spider hole in sufficient time, and that to hurl the deadly bomb in any direction would result in death or injury to some of his comrades tactically deployed near him. Manifesting extraordinary gallantry and with utter disregard for his personal safety, he chose to hold the grenade against his body in order to absorb the terrific explosion and spare his comrades. His act of extreme valor and selflessness in the face of virtually certain death, although leaving him mortally wounded, spared many of his fellow marines from death or injury. His gallant action in giving his life in the cause of freedom reflects the highest credit upon the Marine Corps and the Armed Forces of the United States.

*MORGAN, WILLIAM D.

Rank and organization: Corporal, U.S. Marine Corps. Company H, 2d Battalion, 9th Marines, 3d Marine Division. Place and date: Quang Tri Province, Republic of Vietnam, 25 February 1969. Entered service at: Pittsburgh, Pa. Born: 17 September 1947, Pittsburgh, Pa. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a squad leader with Company H, in operations against the enemy. While participating in Operation DEWEY CANYON southeast of Vandergrift Combat Base, one of the squads of Cpl. Morgan's platoon was temporarily pinned down and sustained several casualties while attacking a North Vietnamese Army force occupying a heavily fortified bunker complex. Observing that two of the wounded marines had fallen in a position dangerously exposed to the enemy fire and that all attempts to evacuate them were halted by a heavy volume of automatic weapons fire and rocket-propelled grenades. Cpl. Morgan unhesitatingly maneuvered through the dense jungle undergrowth to a road that passed in front of a hostile emplacement which was the principal source of enemy fire. Fully aware of the possible consequences of his valiant action, but thinking only of the welfare of his injured companions, Cpl. Morgan shouted words of encouragement to them as he initiated an aggressive assault against the hostile bunker. While charging across the open road, he was clearly visible to the hostile soldiers who turned their fire in his direction and mortally wounded him, but his diversionary tactic enabled the remainder of his squad to retrieve their casualties and overrun the North Vietnamese Army position. His heroic and determined actions saved the lives of 2 fellow marines and were instrumental in the subsequent defeat of the enemy. Cpl. Morgan's indomitable courage, inspiring initiative and selfless devotion to duty upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and of the U.S. Naval Services. He gallantly gave his life for his country.

*Asterisk indicates posthumous award.

6 Comments

Unfortunate that SSgt Connor's citation lists a fictitious province (Quang Nag). I suspect it was Quang Nam, where I served too.

TC
 
These citations were scanned (not by me, by the gov't) and have numerous typos.  I catch the obvious ones, but I freely admit my knowledge of Vietnam geography to the province name level is weak.
 
Looking elsewhere, it should probably by Quang Ngai.
 
My guess is Quang Ngai, too -- Dewey Canyon was a sweep of the A Shau, and Vandergrift Combat Base was in Quang Ngai.

But the citation date is 1966. Dewey Canyon took place in 1969. Maybe yet another typo...
 
Whoops. Didn't scroll far enough and landed in Cpl Morgan's citation.
 
 Brian Leroy Buker
Incident Date: 04/05/1970
Casualty Date: 04/05/1970
Age at Loss: 20
Location: Chau Doc Province, South Vietnam

I would be honored if you would add him to your list.  He was my cousin, we met just a few time, I believe he was on his 3rd tour.
Bill