Medal of Honor

 

 

SEAY, WILLIAM W.*

 

Rank and organization: Sergeant, U.S. Army, 62d Transportation Company (Medium Truck), 7th Transportation Battalion, 48th Transportation Group.

 

Place and date: Near Ap Nhi, Republic of Vietnam 25 August 1968.

 

Entered service at: Montgomery, Ala.

 

Born: 24 October 1948, Brewton, Ala.

 

Citation:

 

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Sgt. Seay distinguished himself while serving as a driver with the 62d Transportation Company, on a resupply mission. The convoy with which he was traveling, carrying critically needed ammunition and supplies from Long Binh to Tay Ninh, was ambushed by a reinforced battalion of the North Vietnamese Army. As the main elements of the convoy entered the ambush killing zone, they were struck by intense rocket, machine gun and automatic weapon fire from the well concealed and entrenched enemy force. When his convoy was forced to stop, Sgt. Seay immediately dismounted and took a defensive position behind the wheels of a vehicle loaded with high-explosive ammunition. As the violent North Vietnamese assault approached to within 10 meters of the road, Sgt. Seay opened fire, killing 2 of the enemy. He then spotted a sniper in a tree approximately 75 meters to his front and killed him. When an enemy grenade was thrown under an ammunition trailer near his position, without regard for his own safety he left his protective cover, exposing himself to intense enemy fire, picked up the grenade, and threw it back to the North Vietnamese position, killing 4 more of the enemy and saving the lives of the men around him. Another enemy grenade landed approximately 3 meters from Sgt. Seay's position. Again Sgt. Seay left his covered position and threw the armed grenade back upon the assaulting enemy. After returning to his position he was painfully wounded in the right wrist; however, Sgt. Seay continued to give encouragement and direction to his fellow soldiers. After moving to the relative cover of a shallow ditch, he detected 3 enemy soldiers who had penetrated the position and were preparing to fire on his comrades. Although weak from loss of blood and with his right hand immobilized, Sgt. Seay stood up and fired his rifle with his left hand, killing all 3 and saving the lives of the other men in his location. As a result of his heroic action, Sgt. Seay was mortally wounded by a sniper's bullet. Sgt. Seay, by his gallantry in action at the cost of his life, has reflected great credit upon himself, his unit, and the U.S. Army.

 


 

New Navy Ship honors Army hero

 

American Forces Press Service, 17 July 1998

 

Pauline Harrison couldn't harness her emotions or fight back tears during ceremonies christening a Navy ship in her son's name.

Overcome with grief and sad memories, Harrison sobbed as a 950-foot-long cargo ship was christened the USNS Seay on June 20, 1998 at Avondale Shipyard in New Orleans.

Because the ship will be used to pre-position tons of Army equipment afloat, Navy officials decided to name the vessel in honor of a soldier. They chose Army Sgt. William "Bill" Seay, who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for gallantry in action in Vietnam on Aug. 25, 1968.

Seay's name already graces five military parade fields, two tugboats, two officers barracks, a training center, a movie theater and a shopping mall. This new recognition has caused mixed feelings for his family.

"It refreshes the memory that he's gone, and that's painful. But God has reasons for doing things and we're not to question that," Harrison said later.

"It's a very sad thing, but I'm glad Billy hasn't been forgotten," said Seay's sister, Sarah Lee, who was 23 when her 19-year-old brother was killed. "When they do these things every few years, there's no way he can be forgotten. We try to see the positive side."

Seay had been a driver in the 62nd Transportation Medium Truck Company, 7th Transportation Battalion, 48th Transportation Group, near Ap Hi, Vietnam. While on a resupply mission, his unit came under intense rocket, machine gun and automatic weapon fire from a reinforced North Vietnamese army battalion.

"He didn't just defend. As enemy fire intensified, so to did his response," said Air Force Gen. Walter Kross, commander, U.S. Transportation Command, Scott Air Force Base, Ill., at the christening ceremony. Seay picked off a sniper. Then as grenades rained down on him and his buddies, he repeatedly rose from cover and, braving enemy fire, pitched the grenades back, killing several of the enemy.

"Painfully wounded, he continued to return fire and encouraged his fellow soldiers until he detected three enemy soldiers penetrating his position, preparing to fire on his comrades," Kross said. "Without thought for his own safety, in severe pain and with only his left hand usable, he stood and took them under fire, killing all three of them." Seay fell mortally wounded from a sniper bullet.

The Navy Military Sealift Command will operate the USNS Seay. The ship's roll-on/roll-off design enables fast, easy loading and unloading of up to 1,000 Army helicopters, tanks, trucks and other military vehicles. USNS Seay is 950 feet in length, has a beam of 105 feet, and displaces about 62,000 tons fully loaded. The diesel-powered ship has about 380,000 square feet of cargo space and can sustain speeds up to 24 knots.

The USNS Seay is the third of the four cargo ships being built by Avondale that are being named for Medal of Honor recipients. The first two honor Army Medal of Honor recipients Master Sgt. Gary I. Gordon and Sgt. 1st Class Randall D. Shughart, who died in Mogadishu, Somalia, in October 1993 while trying to rescue a downed Army helicopter crew. The USNS Shughart was christened on May 7, 1996, and the USNS Gordon, on July 4, 1996.

The fourth ship in the series is scheduled to be christened Oct. 2, 1998, in honor of Spc. Larry G. Dahl, who was decorated posthumously for throwing himself on a grenade to save his friends in Vietnam on Feb. 23, 1971.

 


 

--- General / Personal ---

 

Last name: SEAY

First name: WILLIAM WAYNE

Home of Record (official): PENSACOLA

State (official): FL

Date of Birth: Sunday, October 24, 1948

Sex: Male

Race: Caucasian

Marital Status: Single

 

--- Military ---

 

Branch: Army

Rank: SGT

Serial Number: 12936821

Component: Regular

Posthumous promotion as indicated

Pay grade: E4

MOS (Military Occupational Specialty code): 64B20

 

--- Action ---

 

Start of Tour: Tuesday, October 10, 1967

Date of Casualty: Sunday, August 25, 1968

Age at time of loss: 19

Casualty type: (A1) Hostile, died

Reason: Gun, small arms fire (Ground casualty)

Country: South VietNam

Province: Tay Ninh

The Wall: Panel 46W - Row 022


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