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Congressional Medal of Honor Society

Stories of Sacrifice

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Vietnam War - U.S. Army

Ruppert Leon Sargent

  • Rank: First Lieutenant
  • Conflict/Era: Vietnam War
  • Unit/Command:
    Company B, 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry,
    25th Infantry Division
  • Military Service Branch: U.S. Army
  • Medal of Honor Action Date: March 15, 1967
  • Medal of Honor Action Place: Hau Nghia Province, Republic of Vietnam

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. While leading a platoon of Company B, 1st Lt. Sargent was investigating a reported Viet Cong meetinghouse and weapons cache. A tunnel entrance which 1st Lt. Sargent observed was booby-trapped. He tried to destroy the booby trap and blow the cover from the tunnel using hand grenades, but this attempt was not successful. He and his demolition man moved in to destroy the booby trap and cover which flushed a Viet Cong soldier from the tunnel, who was immediately killed by the nearby platoon sergeant. First Lt. Sargent, the platoon sergeant, and a forward observer moved toward the tunnel entrance. As they approached, another Viet Cong emerged and threw two hand grenades that landed in the midst of the group. First Lt. Sargent fired three shots at the enemy then turned and unhesitatingly threw himself over the two grenades. He was mortally wounded, and his two companions were lightly wounded when the grenades exploded. By his courageous and selfless act of exceptional heroism, he saved the lives of the platoon sergeant and forward observer and prevented the injury or death of several other nearby comrades. First Lt. Sargent's actions were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself and the U.S. Army.

Additional Details
  • Accredited to: Richmond, Virginia
  • Awarded Posthumously: Yes
  • Presentation Date & Details: March 10, 1969

    At Widow's home, Hampton, Va., presented by Gen. Donley P. Bolton

  • Born: January 6, 1938, Hampton, Hampton County, VA, United States
  • Died: March 15, 1967, Republic of Vietnam
  • Buried: Hampton National Cemetery (MH) (F-17596), Hampton, VA, United States

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