Then Spec. 5 Dwight W. Birdwell took action as North Vietnamese forces launched the opening assault of what would come to be known as the Tet Offensive, marked by coordinated attacks across Vietnam on U.S. troops, South Vietnamese soldiers and their allies. Birdwell’s unit was called on to repel an attack on a major military installation, Tan Son Nhut Air Base, and was ambushed on the way. Birdwell took charge after his tank commander was gravely wounded, laying down suppressive fire as North Vietnamese soldiers shot at him. Birdwell was hit by shrapnel but kept fighting. Eventually, he was ordered to board a helicopter to evacuate, but he crawled out the opposite side of the aircraft and went back to fighting.