Congressional Medal of Honor Society

Stories of Sacrifice

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Vietnam War - U.S. Army

James Leroy Bondsteel

  • Rank: Staff Sergeant (Highest Rank: Master Sergeant)
  • Conflict/Era: Vietnam War
  • Unit/Command:
    Company A, 2d Battalion, 2d Infantry,
    1st Infantry Division
  • Military Service Branch: U.S. Army
  • Medal of Honor Action Date: May 24, 1969
  • Medal of Honor Action Place: near the village of Lang Sau, An Loc Province, Republic of Vietnam
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. S/Sgt. Bondsteel distinguished himself while serving as a platoon sergeant with Company A, near the village of Lang Sau. Company A was directed to assist a friendly unit which was endangered by intense fire from a North Vietnamese battalion located in a heavily fortified base camp. S/Sgt. Bondsteel quickly organized the men of his platoon into effective combat teams and spearheaded the attack by destroying four enemy- occupied bunkers. He then raced some 200 meters under heavy enemy fire to reach an adjoining platoon which had begun to falter. After rallying this unit and assisting their wounded, S/Sgt. Bondsteel returned to his own sector with critically needed munitions. Without pausing he moved to the forefront and destroyed four enemy-occupied bunkers and a machine gun which had threatened his advancing platoon. Although painfully wounded by an enemy grenade, S/Sgt. Bondsteel refused medical attention and continued his assault by neutralizing two more enemy bunkers nearby. While searching one of these emplacements, S/Sgt. Bondsteel narrowly escaped death when an enemy soldier detonated a grenade at close range. Shortly thereafter, he ran to the aid of a seriously wounded officer and struck down an enemy soldier who was threatening the officer's life. S/Sgt. Bondsteel then continued to rally his men and lead them through the entrenched enemy until his company was relieved. His exemplary leadership and great personal courage throughout the four-hour battle ensured the success of his own and nearby units, and resulted in the saving of numerous lives of his fellow soldiers. By individual acts of bravery he destroyed 10 enemy bunkers and accounted for a large toll of the enemy, including two key enemy commanders. His extraordinary heroism at the risk of his life was in the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon him, his unit, and the U.S. Army.
Medal of Honor Recipient James L. Bondsteel
Medal of Honor Recipient James L. Bondsteel
Additional Details
  • Accredited to: Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan
  • Awarded Posthumously: No
  • Presentation Date & Details: October 15, 1973
    The White House, presented by Pres. Richard M. Nixon
  • Born: July 18, 1947, Jackson, Jackson County, MI, United States
  • Died: April 9, 1987, Anchorage (Kinik River Bridge), AK, United States
  • Buried: Fort Richardson National Cemetery (MH) (H-19), Fort Richardson, AK, United States

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