Today’s Medal of Honor Moment for 11 August

Medal of Honor recipient Roy M Wheat. Courtesy the CMOHS.

The Medal didn’t surface on this day in history until the Vietnam War.


Rank and organization: Lance Corporal, U.S. Marine Corps, Company K, 3d Battalion, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division. Place and date: Republic of Vietnam, 11 August 1967. Entered service at Jackson, Miss. Born: 24 July 1947, Moselle, Miss. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. L/Cpl. Wheat and 2 other marines were assigned the mission of providing security for a Navy construction battalion crane and crew operating along Liberty Road in the vicinity of the Dien Ban District, Quang Nam Province. After the marines had set up security positions in a tree line adjacent to the work site, L/Cpl. Wheat reconnoitered the area to the rear of their location for the possible presence of guerrillas. He then returned to within 10 feet of the friendly position, and here unintentionally triggered a well concealed, bounding type, antipersonnel mine. Immediately, a hissing sound was heard which was identified by the 3 marines as that of a burning time fuse. Shouting a warning to his comrades, L/Cpl. Wheat in a valiant act of heroism hurled himself upon the mine, absorbing the tremendous impact of the explosion with his body. The inspirational personal heroism and extraordinary valor of his unselfish action saved his fellow marines from certain injury and possible death

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, reflected great credit upon himself, and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.

I have my usual nit to pick with the citation.  Lance Corporal Wheat gave his life for his buddies.  Country didn’t enter into it.

You enlist (or don’t flee the draft) because of country.  In combat – only the fanatics die for that reason.  The rest of us die because we got an unlucky draw from the statistics pool

, or we do it for our buddies.  The job is to make sure the *other* guy gets the unlucky draw.  No knock on Wheat, I just don’t like this phraseology in the citations.  Too much “Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori” in it for my non-Victorian tastes.  It is a much more common feature of Sea Service citations than Army or Air Force.

*Indicates a posthumous award.

Published by The Armorer

A grumpy old Cincinnatus who feeds goats, dogs, cats, ducks, peafowl, a horse, and sundry avians, especially in the winter. From time to time you will see guns. Until such time as the Progressives repeal the 2nd Amendment, everything you see is legal, Federal, State, Local, where I live. Your progressive paradise may have different rules. Don't project them onto me. Federalism still exists, even if it is but a shadow of what the Framers intended.

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