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Colonel Gordon Ray Roberts

Date of Award: March 2, 1971
Conflict: Vietnam War
Branch: U.S. Army

Colonel Gordon Ray Roberts portraitOhio native Gordon Ray Roberts enlisted into the Army during Vietnam as an infantryman with Company B, 1st Battalion, 506th Infantry, 101st Airborne Division.

Roberts quickly distinguished himself within the armed forces, receiving both the Silver and Bronze Stars prior to his heroic actions on July 11, 1969, that would later earn him the highest honor in the military services.

As an Army sergeant, Roberts conducted a one-man assault on enemy bunkers, and fearlessly removed his wounded comrades out of the line of fire, despite being under heavy enemy fire at Thua Thien Province, Republic of Vietnam. For his brave actions and dedication to duty, he was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Nixon on March 2, 1971.

Roberts is now a colonel on active duty and serves as Brigade Commander for Walter Reed Army Medical Center. He is the only Medal of Honor recipient currently serving on active duty.

Citation: “For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Sgt. Roberts distinguished himself while serving as a rifleman in Company B, during combat operations. Sgt. Roberts' platoon was maneuvering along a ridge to attack heavily fortified enemy bunker positions which had pinned down an adjoining friendly company. As the platoon approached the enemy positions, it was suddenly pinned down by heavy automatic weapons and grenade fire from camouflaged enemy fortifications atop the overlooking hill. Seeing his platoon immobilized and in danger of failing in its mission, Sgt. Roberts crawled rapidly toward the closest enemy bunker. With complete disregard for his safety, he leaped to his feet and charged the bunker, firing as he ran. Despite the intense enemy fire directed at him, Sgt. Roberts silenced the 2-man bunker. Without hesitation, Sgt. Roberts continued his l-man assault on a second bunker. As he neared the second bunker, a burst of enemy fire knocked his rifle from his hands. Sgt. Roberts picked up a rifle dropped by a comrade and continued his assault, silencing the bunker. He continued his charge against a third bunker and destroyed it with well-thrown hand grenades. Although Sgt. Roberts was now cut off from his platoon, he continued his assault against a fourth enemy emplacement. He fought through a heavy hail of fire to join elements of the adjoining company which had been pinned down by the enemy fire. Although continually exposed to hostile fire, he assisted in moving wounded personnel from exposed positions on the hilltop to an evacuation area before returning to his unit. By his gallant and selfless actions, Sgt. Roberts contributed directly to saving the lives of his comrades and served as an inspiration to his fellow soldiers in the defeat of the enemy force. Sgt. Roberts' extraordinary heroism in action at the risk of his life were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the U.S. Army”

Last Updated: July 11, 2023
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