The Congressional Medal of Honor Society and Medal of Honor Foundation regret to announce the passing of Medal of Honor Recipient Hiroshi “Hershey” Miyamura.

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Vietnam War - U.S. Army

John Gary Gertsch

Details
  • Rank: Staff Sergeant
  • Conflict/Era: Vietnam War
  • Unit/Command:
    Company E, 1st Battalion, 327th Infantry,
    101st Airborne Division
  • Military Service Branch: U.S. Army
  • Medal of Honor Action Date: July 15 - 19, 1969
  • Medal of Honor Action Place: A Shau Valley, Republic of Vietnam
Citation

S/Sgt. Gertsch distinguished himself while serving as a platoon sergeant and platoon leader during combat operations in the A Shau Valley. During the initial phase of an operation to seize a strongly defended enemy position, S/Sgt. Gertsch's platoon leader was seriously wounded and lay exposed to intense enemy fire. Forsaking his own safety, without hesitation S/Sgt. Gertsch rushed to aid his fallen leader and dragged him to a sheltered position. He then assumed command of the heavily engaged platoon and led his men in a fierce counterattack that forced the enemy to withdraw. Later, a small element of S/Sgt. Gertsch's unit was reconnoitering when attacked again by the enemy. S/Sgt. Gertsch moved forward to his besieged element and immediately charged, firing as he advanced. His determined assault forced the enemy troops to withdraw in confusion and made possible the recovery of two wounded men who had been exposed to heavy enemy fire. Sometime later his platoon came under attack by an enemy force employing automatic-weapons, grenade, and rocket fire. S/Sgt. Gertsch was severely wounded during the onslaught but continued to command his platoon despite his painful wound. While moving under fire and encouraging his men he sighted an aidman treating a wounded officer from an adjacent unit. Realizing that both men were in imminent danger of being killed, he rushed forward and positioned himself between them and the enemy nearby. While the wounded officer was being moved to safety SSgt. Gertsch was mortally wounded by enemy fire. Without S/Sgt. Gertsch's courage, ability to inspire others, and profound concern for the welfare of his men, the loss of life among his fellow soldiers would have been significantly greater. His conspicuous gallantry, extraordinary heroism, and intrepidity at the cost of his life, above and beyond the call of duty, are in the highest traditions of the U.S. Army and reflect great credit on him and the Armed Forces of his country.

Medal of Honor Recipient John G. Gertsch
Medal of Honor Recipient John G. Gertsch
Additional Details
  • Accredited to: Buffalo, Erie County, New York
  • Awarded Posthumously: Yes
  • Presentation Date & Details: July 17, 1974

    Blair House (Courtyard), presented by Vice Pres. Gerald R. Ford to his sister Pati Gertsch Leggate

  • Born: September 29, 1944, Jersey City, Hudson County, NJ, United States
  • Died: July 19, 1969, Republic of Vietnam
  • Buried: Northside Catholic Cemetery (MH) (17-31-19), Pittsburgh, PA, United States
 

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