Congressional Medal of Honor Society

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Vietnam War - U.S. Army

Leonard Bert Keller

Details
  • Rank: Sergeant
  • Conflict/Era: Vietnam War
  • Unit/Command:
    Company A, 3d Battalion, 60th Infantry,
    9th Infantry Division
  • Military Service Branch: U.S. Army
  • Medal of Honor Action Date: May 2, 1967
  • Medal of Honor Action Place: Ap Bac Zone, Republic of Vietnam
Citation

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Sweeping through an area where an enemy ambush had occurred earlier, Sgt. Keller's unit suddenly came under intense automatic-weapons and small-arms fire from a number of enemy bunkers and numerous snipers in nearby trees. Sgt. Keller quickly moved to a position where he could fire at a bunker from which automatic fire was received, killing one Viet Cong who attempted to escape. Leaping to the top of a dike, he and a comrade charged the enemy bunkers, dangerously exposing themselves to the enemy fire. Armed with a light machine gun, Sgt. Keller and his comrade began a systematic assault on the enemy bunkers. While Sgt. Keller neutralized the fire from the first bunker with his machine gun, the other soldier threw in a hand grenade killing its occupant. Then he and the other soldier charged a second bunker, killing its occupant. A third bunker contained a automatic rifleman who had pinned down much of the friendly platoon. Again, with utter disregard for the fire directed to them, the two-men charged, killing the enemy within. Continuing their attack, Sgt. Keller and his comrade assaulted four more bunkers, killing the enemy within. During their furious assault, Sgt. Keller and his comrade had been almost continuously exposed to intense sniper fire as the enemy desperately sought to stop their attack. The ferocity of their assault had carried the soldiers beyond the line of bunkers into the treeline, forcing the snipers to flee. The two men gave immediate chase, driving the enemy away from the friendly unit. When his ammunition was exhausted, Sgt. Keller returned to the platoon to assist in the evacuation of the wounded. The two man assault had driven an enemy platoon from a well-prepared position, accounted for numerous enemy dead, and prevented further friendly casualties. Sgt. Keller's selfless heroism and indomitable fighting spirit saved the lives of many of his comrades and inflicted serious damage on the enemy. His acts were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself and the U.S. Army.

USED WITH PERMISSION, COPYRIGHT NICK DELCALZO
USED WITH PERMISSION, COPYRIGHT NICK DELCALZO
Additional Details
  • Accredited to: Chicago, Cook County, Illinois
  • Awarded Posthumously: No
  • Presentation Date & Details: September 19, 1968

    The White House, presented by Pres. Lyndon B. Johnson

  • Born: February 25, 1947, Rockford, Winnebago County, IL, United States
  • Died: October 18, 2009, Milton, FL, United States
  • Buried: Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, VA, United States
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