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Vietnam War - U.S. Army

James Michael Sprayberry

Details
  • Rank: First Lieutenant (rank at time of presentation: Captain; highest rank: Colonel)
  • Conflict/Era: Vietnam War
  • Unit/Command:
    Company D, 5th Battalion, 7th Cavalry,
    1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile)
  • Military Service Branch: U.S. Army
  • Medal of Honor Action Date: April 25, 1968
  • Medal of Honor Action Place: Republic of Vietnam
Citation

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Capt. Sprayberry, Armor, U.S. Army, distinguished himself by exceptional bravery while serving as executive officer of Company D. His company commander and a great number of the men were wounded and separated from the main body of the company. A daylight attempt to rescue them was driven back by the well-entrenched enemy's heavy fire. Capt. Sprayberry then organized and led a volunteer night patrol to eliminate the intervening enemy bunkers and to relieve the surrounded element. The patrol soon began receiving enemy machine-gun fire. Capt. Sprayberry quickly moved the men to protective cover and without regard for his own safety, crawled within close range of the bunker from which the fire was coming. He silenced the machine gun with a hand grenade. Identifying several one-man enemy positions nearby, Capt. Sprayberry immediately attacked them with the rest of his grenades. He crawled back for more grenades and when two grenades were thrown at his men from a position to the front, Capt. Sprayberry, without hesitation, again exposed himself and charged the enemy-held bunker, killing its occupants with a grenade. Placing two men to cover his advance, he crawled forward and neutralized three more bunkers with grenades. Immediately thereafter, Capt. Sprayberry was surprised by an enemy soldier who charged from a concealed position. He killed the soldier with his pistol and with continuing disregard for the danger neutralized another enemy emplacement. Capt. Sprayberry then established radio contact with the isolated men, directing them toward his position. When the two elements made contact he organized his men into litter parties to evacuate the wounded. As the evacuation was nearing completion, he observed an enemy machine-gun position which he silenced with a grenade. Capt. Sprayberry returned to the rescue party, established security, and moved to friendly lines with the wounded. This rescue operation, which lasted approximately 7 1/2 hours saved the lives of many of his fellow soldiers. Capt. Sprayberry personally killed 12 enemy soldiers, eliminated two machine guns, and deatroyed numerous enemy bunkers. Capt. Sprayberry's indomiyable spirit and gallant action at great personal risk to his life are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the U.S. Army.

USED WITH PERMISSION, COPYRIGHT NICK DELCALZO
USED WITH PERMISSION, COPYRIGHT NICK DELCALZO
Additional Details
  • Accredited to: Montgomery, Montgomery County, Alabama
  • Awarded Posthumously: No
  • Presentation Date & Details: October 9, 1969

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

  • Born: April 24, 1947, LaGrange, Troup County, GA, United States
 

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