Congressional Medal of Honor Society

Stories of Sacrifice

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Vietnam War - U.S. Army

Thomas James Kinsman

  • Rank: Specialist Fourth Class (rank at time of action: Private First Class)
  • Conflict/Era: Vietnam War
  • Unit/Command:
    Company B, 3d Battalion, 60th Infantry,
    9th Infantry Division
  • Military Service Branch: U.S. Army
  • Medal of Honor Action Date: February 6, 1968
  • Medal of Honor Action Place: near Vinh Long, Republic of Vietnam

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty Sp4c. Kinsman (then Pfc.) distinguished himself in action in the afternoon while serving as a rifleman with Company B, on a reconnaissance-in-force mission. As his company was proceeding up a narrow canal in armored troop carriers, it came under sudden and intense rocket, automatic-weapons and small-arms fire from a well-entrenched Viet Cong force. The company immediately beached and began assaulting the enemy bunker complex. Hampered by exceedingly dense undergrowth which limited visibility to 10 meters, a group of eight men became cut off from the main body of the company. As they were moving through heavy enemy fire to effect a link-up, an enemy soldier in a concealed position hurled a grenade into their midst. Sp4c. Kinsman immediately alerted his comrades of the danger, then unhesitatingly threw himself on the grenade and blocked the explosion with his body. As a result of his courageous action, he received severe head and chest wounds. Through his indomitable courage, complete disregard for his personal safety and profound concern for his fellow soldiers, Sp4c. Kinsman averted loss of life and injury to the other seven men in his element. Sp4c. Kinsman's extraordinary heroism at the risk of his life, above and beyond the call of duty, are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the U.S. Army.

Additional Details
  • Accredited to: Seattle, King County, Washington
  • Awarded Posthumously: No
  • Presentation Date & Details: May 17, 1969

    The White House (Lawn), presented by Pres. Richard M. Nixon

  • Born: March 4, 1945, Renton, King County, WA, United States
  • Died: May 15, 2017, Toledo, WA, United States
  • Buried: St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church and Cemetery, Kent, WA, United States
  • Location of Medal: Veteran's Memorial Museum, Chehalis, WA

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