Medal of Honor
FOURNET, DOUGLAS B. *
Rank and organization: First Lieutenant, U.S. Army, Company B, 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile)
Place and date: A Shau Valley, Republic of Vietnam, 4 May 1968
Entered service at: New Orleans, Louisiana
Born: 7 May 1943, Lake Charles, Louisiana
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. 1st Lt. Fournet, Infantry, distinguished himself in action while serving as rifle platoon leader of the 2nd Platoon, Company B. While advancing uphill against fortified enemy positions in the A Shau Valley, the platoon encountered intense sniper fire, making movement very difficult. The right flank man suddenly discovered an enemy claymore mine covering the route of advance and shouted a warning to his comrades. Realizing that the enemy would also be alerted, 1st Lt. Fournet ordered his men to take cover and ran uphill toward the mine, drawing a sheath knife as he approached it. With complete disregard for his safety and realizing the imminent danger to members of his command, he used his body as a shield in front of the mine as he attempted to slash the control wires leading from the enemy positions to the mine. As he reached for the wire the mine was detonated, killing him instantly. 5 men nearest the mine were slightly wounded, but 1st Lt. Fournet's heroic and unselfish act spared his men of serious injury or death. His gallantry and willing self-sacrifice are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the U.S. Army.
Thanks to Roger Perez for providing the following information:
I'm from Sulphur, La. and I first heard of Lt. Fournet in a book by LTC Hal Morris, "We Were Soldiers Once and Young." The book mentioned his death and that he was from Lake Charles.
I came across your email address on the Vietnam Medal of Honor web page. You're probably already aware of this, but I thought I would send you the article below concerning Lt. Fournet just in case.
I-210 stretch to be named for hero from Vietnam War
By Eric Cormier, American Press, June 8, 2001
BATON ROUGE -- The late 1st Lt. Doug Fournet, the only person from Southwest Louisiana to be awarded the distinguished Congressional Medal of Honor, will have a stretch of interstate highway named after him.
Sen. Willie Mount, D-Lake Charles, proposed the name change through a bill that has passed through both the Senate and House.
On Thursday, the House voted 96-0 in favor of the bill which now goes to the governor for his signature.
SB 228 renames a 12.5-mile stretch of Interstate 210 through south Lake Charles -- from Interstate 10 exit 34 to I-10 exit 25 -- the Doug Fournet Memorial Parkway.
According to Mount, many local residents came to her asking for the legislation in hopes of keeping Fournet's memory alive.
"This is a unique honor, because there is no one that I can recall who has had a highway named in their honor in Southwest Louisiana," Mount said.
Fournet was killed in combat in 1968 while serving in Vietnam.
A native of Kinder and former member of the Lake Charles Police Department, Fournet was given the Medal of Honor posthumously by President Richard Nixon.
Fournet, 24 years old at the time of his death, was serving as a rifle platoon leader of the 2nd Platoon Company B, 1st Battalion, 7th Calvary, 1st Cavalry Division in the Republic of Vietnam when he was killed.
He died instantly while attempting to detonate a mine under enemy fire, saving five fellow soldiers.
A park in Kinder has already been named in honor of Fournet.
Lake Charles Mayor Randy Roach, the City Council, members of the Southwest Louisiana legislative delegation and local resident Doug Ragusa were all in support of the name change.
--- General / Personal ---
Last name: FOURNET
First name: DOUGLAS BERNARD
Home of Record (official): LAKE CHARLES
State (official): LA
Date of Birth: Friday, May 7, 1943
Marital Status: Married
--- Military ---
Serial Number: O5338988
Pay grade: O2
MOS (Military Occupational Specialty code): 1542
--- Action ---
Start of Tour: Saturday, March 23, 1968
Date of Casualty: Saturday, May 4, 1968
Age at time of loss: 24
Casualty type: (A1) Hostile, died
Reason: Other explosive device (Ground casualty)
Country: South VietNam
Province: Thua Thien
The Wall: Panel 54E - Row 033
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