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Congressional Medal of Honor Society

Stories of Sacrifice

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Vietnam War - U.S. Air Force

Lance Peter Sijan

  • Rank: Captain
  • Conflict/Era: Vietnam War
  • Unit/Command:
    480th Tactical Fighter Squadron,
    Da Nang Air Force Base
  • Military Service Branch: U.S. Air Force
  • Medal of Honor Action Date: November 9, 1967
  • Medal of Honor Action Place: Ban Loboy Ford & Ban Kari Pass & Hoa Lo Prison, Laos & North Vietnam

While on a flight over North Vietnam, Capt. Sijan ejected from his disabled aircraft and successfully evaded capture for more than six weeks. During this time, he was seriously injured and suffered from shock and extreme weight loss due to lack of food. After being captured by North Vietnamese soldiers, Capt. Sijan was taken to a holding point for subsequent transfer to a prisoner-of-war camp. In his emaciated and crippled condition, he overpowered one of his guards and crawled into the jungle, only to be recaptured after several hours. He was then transferred to another prison camp where he was kept in solitary confinement and interrogated at length. During interrogation, he was severely tortured; however, he did not divulge any information to his captors. Capt. Sijan lapsed into delirium and was placed in the care of another prisoner. During his intermittent periods of consciousness until his death, he never complained of his physical condition and, on several occasions, spoke of future escape attempts. Capt. Sijan's extraordinary heroism and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty at the cost of his life are in keeping with the highest traditions of the U.S. Air Force and reflect great credit upon himself and the U.S. Armed Forces.

Medal of Honor Recipient Lance P. Sijan
Medal of Honor Recipient Lance P. Sijan
Additional Details
  • Accredited to: Milwaukee, Milwaukee County, Wisconsin
  • Awarded Posthumously: Yes
  • Presentation Date & Details: March 6, 1976

    The White House, presented by Pres. Gerald R. Ford to his family

  • Born: April 13, 1942, Milwaukee, Milwaukee County, WI, United States
  • Died: January 22, 1968, Hanoi Hanoi (Hoa Lo Prison), Vietnam
  • Buried: Arlington Park Cemetery (MH) (26-68-7), Milwaukee, WI, United States

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