Congressional Medal of Honor Society

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Vietnam War - U.S. Marine Corps

Oscar Palmer Austin

Details
  • Rank: Private First Class
  • Conflict/Era: Vietnam War
  • Unit/Command:
    Company E, 2d Battalion, 7th Marines,
    1st Marine Division (Rein) FMF
  • Military Service Branch: U.S. Marine Corps
  • Medal of Honor Action Date: February 23, 1969
  • Medal of Honor Action Place: west of Da Nang, Republic of Vietnam
Citation
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as an assistant machine gunner with Company E, in connection with operations against enemy forces. During the early morning hours Pfc. Austin's observation post was subjected to a fierce ground attack by a large North Vietnamese Army force supported by a heavy volume of hand grenades, satchel charges, and small-arms fire. Observing that one of his wounded companions had fallen unconscious in a position dangerously exposed to the hostile fire, Pfc. Austin unhesitatingly left the relative security of his fighting hole and, with complete disregard for his safety, raced across the fire-swept terrain to assist the marine to a covered location. As he neared the casualty, he observed an enemy grenade land nearby and reacting instantly, leaped between the injured marine and the lethal object, absorbing the effects of its detonation. As he ignored his painful injuries and turned to examine the wounded man, he saw a North Vietnamese Army soldier aiming a weapon at his unconscious companion. With full knowledge of the probable consequences and thinking only to protect the marine, Pfc. Austin resolutely threw himself between the casualty and the hostile soldier, and in so doing, was mortally wounded. Pfc. Austin's indomitable courage, inspiring initiative and selfless devotion to duty upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.
Medal of Honor Recipient Oscar P. Austin
Medal of Honor Recipient Oscar P. Austin
Additional Details
  • Accredited to: Phoenix, Maricopa County, Arizona
  • Awarded Posthumously: Yes
  • Presentation Date & Details: April 20, 1970
    The White House, presented by Vice Pres. Spiro T. Agnew to his family
  • Born: January 15, 1948, Nacogdoches, Nacogdoches County, TX, United States
  • Died: February 23, 1969, Republic of Vietnam
  • Buried: Greenwood Memorial Park (MH) (44-42-2-11) , Phoenix, AZ, United States
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