Congressional Medal of Honor Society

Stories of Sacrifice

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Vietnam War - U.S. Army

Delbert Owen Jennings

  • Rank: Staff Sergeant (Highest Rank: Command Sergeant Major)
  • Conflict/Era: Vietnam War
  • Unit/Command:
    3d Squad, 4th Platoon, Company C, 1st Battalion (Airborne), 12th Cavalry,
    1st Air Cavalry Division
  • Military Service Branch: U.S. Army
  • Medal of Honor Action Date: December 27, 1966
  • Medal of Honor Action Place: Kim Song Valley, Republic of Vietnam

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Part of Company C was defending an artillery position when attacked by a North Vietnamese Army regiment supported by mortar, recoilless-rifle, and machine-gun fire. At the outset, Sgt. Jennings sprang to his bunker, astride the main attack route, and slowed the on-coming enemy wave with highly effective machine-gun fire. Despite a tenacious defense in which he killed at least 12 of the enemy, his squad was forced to the rear. After covering the withdrawal of the squad, he rejoined his men, destroyed an enemy demolition crew about to blow up a nearby howitzer, and killed three enemy soldiers at his initial bunker position. Ordering his men back into a secondary position, he again covered their withdrawal, killing one enemy with the butt of his weapon. Observing that some of the defenders were unaware of a enemy force in their rear, he raced through a fire-swept area to warn the men, turn their fire on the enemy, and lead them into a secondary perimeter. Assisting in the defense of the new position, he aided the air-landing of reinforcements by throwing white phosphorous grenades on the landing zone despite dangerously silhouetting himself with the light. After helping to repulse the final enemy assaults, he led a group of volunteers well beyond friendly lines to an area where eight seriously wounded men lay. Braving enemy sniper fire and ignoring the presence of booby traps in the area, they recovered the eight men who would have probably perished without early medical treatment. Sgt. Jenning's extraordinary heroism and inspirational leadership saved the lives of many of his comrades and contributed greatly to the defeat of a superior enemy force. His actions stand with the highest traditions of the military profession and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the U.S. Army.

Medal of Honor Recipient Delbert O. Jennings
Medal of Honor Recipient Delbert O. Jennings
Additional Details
  • Accredited to: San Francisco, San Francisco County, California
  • Awarded Posthumously: No
  • Presentation Date & Details: September 19, 1968

    The White House, presented by Pres. Lyndon B. Johnson

  • Born: July 23, 1936, Silver City, Grant County, NM, United States
  • Died: March 16, 2003, Honolulu, HI, United States
  • Buried: Arlington National Cemetery (MH) (7A-157), Arlington, VA, United States

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