Congressional Medal of Honor Society

Stories of Sacrifice

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Vietnam War - U.S. Army

Billy Lane Lauffer

  • Rank: Private First Class
  • Conflict/Era: Vietnam War
  • Unit/Command:
    Company C, 2d Battalion, 5th Cavalry,
    1st Air Cavalry Division
  • Military Service Branch: U.S. Army
  • Medal of Honor Action Date: September 21, 1966
  • Medal of Honor Action Place: near Bon Son, Binh Dinh Province, Republic of Vietnam
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Pfc. Lauffer's squad, a part of Company C, was suddenly struck at close range by an intense machine-gun crossfire from two concealed bunkers astride the squad's route. Pfc. Lauffer, the second man in the column, saw the leadman fall and noted that the remainder of the squad was unable to move. Two comrades, previously wounded and being carried on litters, were lying helpless in the beaten zone of the enemy fire. Reacting instinctively, Pfc. Lauffer quickly engaged both bunkers with fire from his rifle, but when the other squad members attempted to maneuver under his cover fire, the enemy fusillade increased in volume and thwarted every attempt to move. Seeing this and his wounded comrades helpless in the open, Pfc. Lauffer rose to his feet and charged the enemy machine-gun positions, firing his weapon and drawing the enemy's attention. Keeping the enemy confused and off balance, his one-man assault provided the crucial moments for the wounded point man to crawl to a covered position, the squad to move the exposed litter patients to safety, and his comrades to gain more advantageous positions. Pfc. Lauffer was fatally wounded during his selfless act of courage and devotion to his fellow soldiers. His gallantry at the cost of his life served as an inspiration to his comrades and saved the lives of an untold number of his companions. His actions are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the U.S. Army.
Medal of Honor Recipient Billy L. Lauffer
Medal of Honor Recipient Billy L. Lauffer
Additional Details
  • Accredited to: Phoenix, Maricopa County, Arizona
  • Awarded Posthumously: Yes
  • Presentation Date & Details: August 15, 1968
    The Pentagon, presented by Sec. of the Army Stanley R. Resor to his family
  • Born: October 20, 1945, Murray, Calloway County, KY, United States
  • Died: September 21, 1966, Republic of Vietnam
  • Buried: Murray Memorial Gardens (MH) (34A-1) , Murray, KY, United States

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