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Congressional Medal of Honor Society

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Vietnam War - U.S. Army

William Maud Bryant

Details
  • Rank: Sergeant First Class
  • Conflict/Era: Vietnam War
  • Unit/Command:
    Company A, 5th Special Forces Group,
    1st Special Forces
  • Military Service Branch: U.S. Army
  • Medal of Honor Action Date: March 24, 1969
  • Medal of Honor Action Place: Long Khanh Province, Republic of Vietnam
Citation

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Sfc. Bryant, assigned to Company A, distinguished himself while serving as commanding officer of Civilian Irregular Defense Group Company 321, 2d Battalion, 3d Mobile Strike Force Command, during combat operations. The battalion came under heavy fire and became surrounded by the elements of three enemy regiments. Sfc. Bryant displayed extraordinary heroism throughout the succeeding 34 hours of incessant attack as he moved throughout the company position heedless of the intense hostile fire while establishing and improving the defensive perimeter, directing fire during critical phases of the battle, distributing ammunition, assisting the wounded, and providing the leadership and inspirational example of courage to his men. When a helicopter drop of ammunition was made to resupply the beleaguered force, Sfc. Bryant with complete disregard for his safety ran through the heavy enemy fire to retrieve the scattered ammunition boxes and distributed needed ammunition to his men. During a lull in the intense fighting, Sfc. Bryant led a patrol outside the perimeter to obtain information of the enemy. The patrol came under intense automatic-weapons fire and was pinned down. Sfc. Bryant singlehandedly repulsed one enemy attack on his small force and by his heroic action inspired his men to fight off other assaults. Seeing a wounded enemy soldier some distance from the patrol location, Sfc. Bryant crawled forward alone under heavy fire to retrieve the soldier for intelligence purposes. Finding that the enemy soldier had expired, Sfc. Bryant crawled back to his patrol and led his men back to the company position where he again took command of the defense. As the siege continued, Sfc. Bryant organized and led a patrol in a daring attempt to break through the enemy encirclement. The patrol had advanced some 200 meters by heavy fighting when it was pinned down by the intense automatic-weapons fire from heavily fortified bunkers and Sfc. Bryant was severely wounded. Despite his wounds he rallied his men, called for helicopter gunship support, and directed heavy suppressive fire upon the enemy positions. Following the last gunship attack, Sfc. Bryant fearlessly charged an enemy automatic-weapons position, overrunning it and singlehandedly destroying its three defenders. Inspired by his heroic example, his men renewed their attack on the entrenched enemy. While regrouping his small force for the final assault against the enemy, Sfc. Bryant fell mortally wounded by an enemy rocket. Sfc. Bryant's selfless concern for his comrades, at the cost of his life above and beyond the call of duty, are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the U.S. Army.

Medal of Honor Recipient William M. Bryant
Medal of Honor Recipient William M. Bryant
Additional Details
  • Accredited to: Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan
  • Awarded Posthumously: Yes
  • Presentation Date & Details: February 16, 1971

    The White House (East Ballroom), presented by Pres. Richard M. Nixon to his family

  • Born: February 16, 1933, Cochran, Bleckley County, GA, United States
  • Died: March 24, 1969, Republic of Vietnam
  • Buried: Raleigh National Cemetery (MH) (15-1227), Raleigh, NC, United States
  • Location of Medal: Bryant Memorial Gallery, Bryant Hall, John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School, Fort Bragg, NC
 

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