|Larry Stanley Pierce|
Larry Stanley Pierce, Medal of Honor recipient
|Born||July 6, 1941|
|Died||September 20, 1965(aged 24)|
|Place of birth||Wewoka, Oklahoma|
|Place of death||near Ben Cat, Republic of Vietnam|
|Allegiance||United States of America|
|Service/branch||United States Army|
|Years of service||1961 - 1965|
|Rank||Staff Sergeant (posthumous)|
|Unit||503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade|
Medal of Honor|
Larry Stanley Pierce (July 6, 1941 – September 20, 1965) was a United States Army soldier and a recipient of the United States military's highest decoration—the Medal of Honor—for his actions in the Vietnam War.
Born in Wewoka, Oklahoma, Pierce's family moved to California when he was young and he was raised there in the city of Taft. He and his wife Verlin had three children: a daughter, Teresa, and two sons, Kelly and Greggory.
Pierce joined the Army from Fresno, California in 1961, and by September 20, 1965, was serving as a sergeant in the Headquarters and Headquarters Company of the 1st Battalion (Airborne), 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade. On that day, near Ben Cat in the central highlands of South Vietnam, Pierce smothered the blast of an anti-personnel mine with his body, sacrificing his life to protect his fellow soldiers. For his actions, he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor on February 24, 1966, and promoted to staff sergeant. The medal was formally presented to his family by President Lyndon B. Johnson during a ceremony at the White House.
Medal of Honor citationEdit
Sergeant Pierce's official Medal of Honor citation reads:
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty. Sgt. Pierce was serving as squad leader in a reconnaissance platoon when his patrol was ambushed by hostile forces. Through his inspiring leadership and personal courage, the squad succeeded in eliminating an enemy machinegun and routing the opposing force. While pursuing the fleeing enemy, the squad came upon a dirt road and, as the main body of his men entered the road, Sgt. Pierce discovered an antipersonnel mine emplaced in the road bed. Realizing that the mine could destroy the majority of his squad, Sgt. Pierce saved the lives of his men at the sacrifice of his life by throwing himself directly onto the mine as it exploded. Through his indomitable courage, complete disregard for his safety, and profound concern for his fellow soldiers, he averted loss of life and injury to the members of his squad. Sgt. Pierce's extraordinary heroism, at the cost of his life, are in the highest traditions of the U.S. Army and reflect great credit upon himself and the Armed Forces of his country.
On February 6, 2008, the post office in Taft was renamed the "Larry S. Pierce Post Office" in his honor. A portion of California State Route 46 which runs through Wasco was designated the "Staff Sgt. Larry S. Pierce Memorial Highway" in 2009.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 "Medal of Honor recipients - Vietnam (M-Z)". United States Army Center of Military History. August 3, 2009. http://www.history.army.mil/html/moh/vietnam-m-z.html. Retrieved 2009-08-13.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 "Highway renaming to honor Kern Medal of Honor recipient". The Bakersfield Californian. August 10, 2009. http://www.bakersfield.com/news/local/x1964459928/Highway-renaming-to-honor-local-hero. Retrieved 2009-08-13.
- ↑ http://www.specialforcesroh.com/browse.php?mode=viewiroll&rollid=18742
- ↑ "President Bush Signs S. 2110 into Law". White House Press Secretary. February 6, 2008. http://georgewbush-whitehouse.archives.gov/news/releases/2008/02/20080206-2.html. Retrieved 2009-08-13.
- "Larry S. Pierce". Claim to Fame: Medal of Honor recipients. Find a Grave. http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=7862256. Retrieved September 2, 2010.
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