William David Port – Sergeant, United States Army

Born at Petersburg, Pennsylvania, on October 13, 1941, he was awarded the Medal of Honor for service in the Vietnam War while serving as Private First Class, 5th Battalion, 7th United States Cavalry, 1st Air Cavalry Division, at Que Son Valley, Heip Duc Province, Republic of Vietnam on January 12, 1968.

For conspicious gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. He distinguished himself while serving as a rifleman with Company C, which was conducting operations against an enemy force in the Que Son Valley. As his platoon was moving to cut off a reported movement of enemy soldiers, the platoon came underheavy fire from an entrenched enemy force. The platoon was forced to withdraw due to the intensity and ferocity of the fire. Although wounded in the hand as the withdrawal began, Port, with complete disregard for his safety, ran through the heavy fire to assist a wounded comrade back to the safety of the platoon perimeter. As the enemy forces assaulted in the perimeter, Port and three comrades were in position behind an embankment when an enemy grenade landed in their midst. Port, realizing the danger to his fellow soldiers, shouted the warning, “Grenade,” and unhesitatingly hurled himself toward the grenade in order to shield his comrades from the explosion. Through exemplary courage and devotion he saved the lives of his fellow soldiers and gave the members of his platoon the inspiration need to hold their position. His selfless concern for his comrades, at the risk of his own life above and beyond the call of duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit on himself, his unit and the United States Army.

He was seriously wounded and taken prisoner. He died while still a prisoner of war on November 27, 1968 and his body was buried in a common grave in the jungle with eight other prisoners of war.

His remains were located by a U.S. team working with the Vietnamese government in August 1985. In October 1985, his remains were positively identified and returned to the United States for burial in Section 7 of Arlington National Cemetery.

His medal was presented to his widow by President Richard Nixon on August 6, 1970.

With very special thanks to Tim Millar for reminding me what a hero William Port was, and is.


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