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Congressional Medal of Honor Society

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Vietnam War - U.S. Army

Kern Wayne Dunagan

Details
  • Rank: Major (rank at time of action: Captain)
  • Conflict/Era: Vietnam War
  • Unit/Command:
    Company A, 1st Battalion, 46th Infantry,
    Americal Division
  • Military Service Branch: U.S. Army
  • Medal of Honor Action Date: May 13, 1969
  • Medal of Honor Action Place: Quang Tin Province, Republic of Vietnam
Citation
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Maj. (then Capt.) Dunagan distinguished himself during the period 13 and 14 May 1969, while serving as commanding officer, Company A. On 13 May 1969, Maj. Dunagan was leading an attack to relieve pressure on the battalion's forward support base when his company came under intense fire from a well-entrenched enemy battalion. Despite continuous hostile fire from a numerically superior force, Maj. Dunagan repeatedly and fearlessly exposed himself in order to locate enemy positions, direct friendly supporting artillery, and position the men of his company. In the early evening, while directing an element of his unit into perimeter guard, he was seriously wounded during an enemy mortar attack, but he refused to leave the battlefield and continued to supervise the evacuation of dead and wounded and to lead his command in the difficult task of disengaging from an aggressive enemy. In spite of painful wounds and extreme fatigue, Maj. Dunagan risked heavy fire on two occasions to rescue critically wounded men. He was again seriously wounded. Undaunted, he continued to display outstanding courage, professional competence, and leadership and successfully extricated his command from its untenable position on the evening of 14 May. Having maneuvered his command into contact with an adjacent friendly unit, he learned that a six-man party from his company was under fire and had not reached the new perimeter. Maj. Dunagan unhesitatingly went back and searched for his men. Finding one soldier critically wounded, Maj. Dunagan, ignoring his wounds, lifted the man to his shoulders and carried him to the comparative safety of the friendly perimeter. Before permitting himself to be evacuated, he insured all of his wounded received emergency treatment and were removed from the area. Throughout the engagement, Maj. Dunagan's actions gave great inspiration to his men and were directly responsible for saving the lives of many of his fellow soldiers. Maj. Dunagan's extraordinary heroism, above and beyond the call of duty, are in the highest traditions of the U.S. Army and reflect great credit on him, his unit, and the U.S. Army.
Medal of Honor Recipient Kern W. Dunagan
Medal of Honor Recipient Kern W. Dunagan
Additional Details
  • Accredited to: Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California
  • Awarded Posthumously: No
  • Presentation Date & Details: June 15, 1971
    The White House (East Ballroom), presented by Pres. Richard M. Nixon
  • Born: February 20, 1934, Superior, Pinal County, AZ, United States
  • Died: December 27, 1991, Nevada City, CA, United States
  • Buried: Golden Gate National Cemetery (MH) (WS-417-1), San Francisco, CA, United States
 

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