President Biden will award Medal of Honor

President Biden will award Medal of Honor

On July 5, 2022, President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. will award the Medal of Honor to four U.S. Army soldiers who fought in the Vietnam War: Master Sgt. Edward N. Kaneshiro (posthumous), Specialist Five Five Dennis M. Fujii and retired Maj. John J. Duffy.

Master Sergeant Edward N. Kaneshiro will receive the Medal of Honor posthumously for acts of bravery and fearlessness beyond the call of duty while serving as an infantry squad leader with Troop C, 1st Squad, 9th Cavalry, 1 1st Cavalry Division, near Phu Huu 2, Kim Son Valley, Republic of Vietnam, on December 1, 1966. Master Sergeant Kaneshiro and his team entered the village of Phu Huu 2 during a search and destroy mission and were attacked by North Vietnamese. First Sergeant Kaneshiro destroyed one enemy group with rifle fire and two others with grenades, allowing for the orderly extraction and reorganization of the platoon and ultimately leading to a successful withdrawal from the village. He served in Vietnam between July 18, 1966 and his death on March 6, 1967, as a result of a hostile gunshot wound.

Specialist Five Dwight W. Birdwell will receive the Medal of Honor for acts of bravery and fearlessness beyond the call of duty while serving with Troop C, 3rd Squadron, 4th Cavalry, 25th Infantry Division, in the Republic of Vietnam on January 31, 1968. On that day, a large enemy element launched an assault on the Tan Son Nhut air base near Saigon. They disabled or destroyed many of the unit’s vehicles and incapacitated Specialist Five Birdwell’s tank commander. Under heavy enemy small arms fire, Specialist Five Birdwell moved the tank commander to safety and fired the tank’s guns at the enemy force. Afterwards, he dismounted and continued fighting until receiving enemy fire in his face and torso. He refused the evacuation and led a small group of defenders to break off the enemy assault until reinforcements arrived. He then helped evacuate the wounded until he was ordered to seek care for his own injuries. He was honorably discharged on December 29, 1968 and today practices law in Oklahoma City.

Specialist Five Dennis M. Fujii will receive the Medal of Honor for acts of bravery and fearlessness beyond the call of duty while serving as a team leader aboard an ambulance helicopter during rescue operations in Laos and the Republic of Vietnam February 18 to 22. 1971. During a mission to evacuate critically wounded Vietnamese military personnel, Specialist Five Fujii’s medevac helicopter came under enemy fire and was forced to land. Although wounded, he fended off a rescue from another helicopter and was left behind as the only American on the battlefield. During that night and the following day, although wounded, he administered first aid to allied casualties. On the night of February 19, he called in US helicopter gunships to help repel an enemy attack. For more than 17 hours, he repeatedly exposed himself to hostile fire as he left the safety of his entrenchment to better observe enemy troop positions and direct airstrikes against them until a US helicopter could attempt to remove him from the area. At the end of his tour, he joined the Army Reserve and today resides in Hawaii.

Major John J. Duffy will receive the Medal of Honor for acts of bravery and fearlessness beyond the call of duty while serving as Senior Advisor to the 11th Airborne Battalion, 2nd Brigade, Airborne Division, Army of the Republic of Vietnam , from April 14 to 15, 1972. Two days earlier, the commander of the 11th Airborne Battalion had been killed, the battalion command post destroyed, and Major Duffy wounded twice. He refused to be evacuated. In the morning hours of April 14, after an unsuccessful attempt to establish a landing zone for refueling planes, he approached enemy anti-aircraft positions to call in airstrikes and was wounded again, but still refused to be evacuated. Late in the afternoon, the enemy began a ground assault from all sides, with Major Duffy moving from position to position adjusting fire, spotting targets for artillery, and firing directly from gunships. In the early hours of April 15, after an enemy ambush, he led evacuees, many of whom were seriously wounded, to an evacuation area, where he directed artillery fire on enemy positions and marked out a landing zone for helicopters. Only after making sure all the evacuees were on board did he go up as well, assisting a friendly wounded foreign soldier and administering aid to a wounded gunner at the door of the helicopter. Major Duffy’s service included three tours in Vietnam in a myriad of Special Forces assignments. He retired from the Army on May 31, 1977 and currently lives in Santa Cruz, California.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ABOUT THE MEDAL OF HONOR:

The Medal of Honor is awarded to members of the armed forces who conspicuously distinguish themselves by bravery and fearlessness at the risk of their own lives beyond the call of duty while:

  • engaged in action against an enemy of the United States;
  • participating in military operations involving a conflict with an opposing foreign force; either
  • serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in an armed conflict against an opposing armed force in which the United States is not a belligerent party.

The meritorious conduct must involve great personal bravery or self-sacrifice so conspicuous as to clearly distinguish the individual above his peers and must have involved risk of life. There must be indisputable proof of the accomplishment of the meritorious conduct, and each recommendation for the award must be considered in the standard of extraordinary merit.

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