Medal of Honor

 

 

LEONARD, MATTHEW *

 

Rank and organization: Platoon Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company B, 1st Battalion, 16th Infantry, 1st Infantry Division

 

Place and date: Near Suoi Da, Republic of Vietnam, 28 February 1967

 

Entered service at: Birmingham, Alabama

 

Born: 26 November 1929, Eutaw, Alabama

 

Citation:

 

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. His platoon was suddenly attacked by a large enemy force employing small arms, automatic weapons, and hand grenades. Although the platoon leader and several other key leaders were among the first wounded, P/Sgt. Leonard quickly rallied his men to throw back the initial enemy assaults. During the short pause that followed, he organized a defensive perimeter, redistributed ammunition, and inspired his comrades through his forceful leadership and words of encouragement. Noticing a wounded companion outside the perimeter, he dragged the man to safety but was struck by a sniper's bullet which shattered his left hand. Refusing medical attention and continuously exposing himself to the increasing fire as the enemy again assaulted the perimeter, P/Sgt. Leonard moved from position to position to direct the fire of his men against the well camouflaged foe. Under the cover of the main attack, the enemy moved a machine gun into a location where it could sweep the entire perimeter. This threat was magnified when the platoon machine gun in this area malfunctioned. P/Sgt. Leonard quickly crawled to the gun position and was helping to clear the malfunction when the gunner and other men in the vicinity were wounded by fire from the enemy machine gun. P/Sgt. Leonard rose to his feet, charged the enemy gun, and destroyed the hostile crew despite being hit several times by enemy fire. He moved to a tree, propped himself against it, and continued to engage the enemy until he succumbed to his many wounds. His fighting spirit, heroic leadership, and valiant acts inspired the remaining members of his platoon to hold back the enemy until assistance arrived, P/Sgt. Leonard's profound courage and devotion to his men are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service, and his gallant actions reflect great credit upon himself and the U.S. Army.

 


 

--- General / Personal ---

 

Last name: LEONARD

First name: MATTHEW

Home of Record (official): BIRMINGHAM

State (official): AL

Date of Birth: Tuesday, November 26, 1929

Sex: Male

Race: Negro

Marital Status: Married

 

--- Military ---

 

Branch: Army

Rank: SFC

Serial Number: 14268817

Component: Regular

Pay grade: E7

MOS (Military Occupational Specialty code): 11B40

 

--- Action ---

 

Start of Tour: Wednesday, August 31, 1966

Date of Casualty: Tuesday, February 28, 1967

Age at time of loss: 37

Casualty type: (A1) Hostile, died

Reason: Gun, small arms fire (Ground casualty)

Country: South VietNam

Province: Tay Ninh

The Wall: Panel 15E - Row 119

 


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