Medal of Honor
 

 

AUSTIN, OSCAR P. *

 

Rank and organization: Private First Class, U.S. Marine Corps, Company E, 2d Battalion, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division, (Rein), FMF

 

Place and date: West of Da Nang, Republic of Vietnam. 23 February 1969

 

Entered service at: Phoenix, Arizona

 

Born: 15 January 1948, Nacogdoches, Texas

 

Citation:

 

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as an assistant machine gunner with Company E, in connection with operations against enemy forces. During the early morning hours Pfc. Austin's observation post was subjected to a fierce ground attack by a large North Vietnamese Army force supported by a heavy volume of hand grenades, satchel charges, and small arms fire. Observing that 1 of his wounded companions had fallen unconscious in a position dangerously exposed to the hostile fire, Pfc. Austin unhesitatingly left the relative security of his fighting hole and, with complete disregard for his safety, raced across the fire-swept terrain to assist the marine to a covered location. As he neared the casualty, he observed an enemy grenade land nearby and, reacting instantly, leaped between the injured marine and the lethal object, absorbing the effects of its detonation. As he ignored his painful injuries and turned to examine the wounded man, he saw a North Vietnamese Army soldier aiming a weapon at his unconscious companion. With full knowledge of the probable consequences and thinking only to protect the marine, Pfc. Austin resolutely threw himself between the casualty and the hostile soldier, and, in doing, was mortally wounded. Pfc. Austin's indomitable courage, inspiring initiative and selfless devotion to duty upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.


Thanks to Ed Hess for the USS Oscar Austin crest

 

 Bath Iron Work's first FLIGHT IIA ARLEIGH BURKE Class AEGIS Destroyer will proudly bear the name of private First Class Oscar P. Austin, United States Marine Corps. Displaying indomitable courage and selfless devotion to duty, Pfc Austin was killed in February 1969 when he sacrificed his own life to save an injured companion. He has been recognized with numerous medals and decorations, including the Purple Heart, the National Defense Medal, and the Vietnam Service Medal with two bronze stars, the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, and the Medal of Honor. Oscar Austin was born January 15, 1948, In Nacogdoches, Texas and grew up in Phoenix, Arizona. He graduated from Phoenix Union High School in 1967, and enlisted in the United Stated Marine Corps in April the following year. Upon completion of Basic Training, Austin was promoted to Private First Class in October 1968. He was transferred to the Republic of Vietnam where he served as an assistant machine gunner with Company E, Second Battalion, Seventh Marine, First Division (Rein), and FMF. During the early morning hours on February 23, 1969, Pfc Austin's observation post came under a fierce ground attack by a large North Vietnamese Army force using a heavy volume of hand grenades, satchel charges and small arms fire. Observing that one of his wounded companions had fallen unconscious in a position dangerously exposed to hostile fire, Austin unhesitatingly left the relative security of his fighting hole and, with complete disregard for his own safety, raced across the fireswept terrain to drag the marine to safety. As he neared his companion, he observed an enemy grenade land nearby. Leaping between the grenade and the injured marine, Austin took the full force of the explosion himself. Although he was badly injured, Austin turned to help his fallen companion and saw a North Vietnamese soldier aiming a weapon at the unconscious man. With full knowledge of the probable consequences, Austin threw himself between the injured marine and the hostile soldier. In doing so, he was mortally wounded. It is fitting that the first Flight IIA AEGIS Destroyer is named for Pfc Oscar Austin, a soldier whose courage and gallantry in the face of certain death exemplified the highest standards of the United States Marine Corps and the United States Navy.


Launching of DDG 79 USS Oscar Austin, Bath Shipworks, Bath, Maine

 

 


--- General / Personal ---

 

Last name: AUSTIN

First name: OSCAR PALMER

Home of Record (official): PHOENIX

State (official): AZ

Date of Birth: Thursday, January 15, 1948

Sex: Male

Race: Negro

Marital Status: Single

 

--- Military ---

 

Branch: Marine Corps

Rank: PFC

Serial Number: 2472757

Component: Selective Service

Pay grade: E2

MOS (Military Occupational Specialty code): 0341

 

--- Action ---

 

Start of Tour: Tuesday, October 15, 1968

Date of Casualty: Sunday, February 23, 1969

Age at time of loss: 21

Casualty type: (A1) Hostile, died

Reason: Multiple fragmentation wounds (Ground casualty)

Country: South VietNam

Province: Quang Nam

The Wall: Panel 32W - Row 088


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