|Joseph Guy LaPointe, Jr.|
Specialist Joseph LaPointe
|Born||July 2, 1948|
|Died||June 2, 1969(aged 20)|
|Place of birth||Dayton, Ohio|
|Place of death||KIA in Quang Tin province, Republic of Vietnam|
|Service/branch||United States Army|
|Years of service||1968–1969|
|Unit||HHT, B Troop, 2/17th Cavalry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division|
Medal of Honor|
Army Commendation Medal
Good Conduct Medal
National Defense Service Medal
Vietnam Service Medal w/ one star
Vietnam Campaign Medal
Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross
Combat Medical Badge
Combat Infantryman Badge
LaPointe, known to his family as "Guy", was born and raised in Dayton, Ohio. After graduating from Northridge High School in 1966, he moved to nearby Clayton and worked as a mail carrier in Englewood. LaPointe was a nature lover and an avid hiker.
LaPointe was drafted in 1968 and declared himself a conscientious objector. He was trained as a combat medic and sent to Vietnam in November 1968. By June 2 of the next year, he was a Specialist Four serving with the 2nd Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division. On that day, he participated in a patrol on Hill 376 in Quang Tin province. When his unit came under heavy fire from entrenched enemy forces and took several casualties, LaPointe ran through the automatic weapons fire to reach two wounded men at the head of the patrol. He treated the soldiers and shielded them with his body, even after being twice wounded, until an enemy grenade killed all three men. For these actions, he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor in January 1972. His other decorations include the Silver Star, Bronze Star, and National Defense Service Medal. He left a "widow, Cindy LaPointe [now] Dafler, and [a] son Joseph G. LaPointe III, who ...never met his father."
Medal of Honor citation
LaPointe's official Medal of Honor citation reads:
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. SPC4. LaPointe, Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 2d Squadron, distinguished himself while serving as a medical aidman during a combat helicopter assault mission. SPC4. LaPointe's patrol was advancing from the landing zone through an adjoining valley when it suddenly encountered heavy automatic weapons fire from a large enemy force entrenched in well fortified bunker positions. In the initial hail of fire, 2 soldiers in the formation vanguard were seriously wounded. Hearing a call for aid from 1 of the wounded, SPC4. LaPointe ran forward through heavy fire to assist his fallen comrades. To reach the wounded men, he was forced to crawl directly in view of an enemy bunker. As members of his unit attempted to provide covering fire, he administered first aid to 1 man, shielding the other with his body. He was hit by a burst of fire from the bunker while attending the wounded soldier. In spite of his painful wounds, SPC4. LaPointe continued his lifesaving duties until he was again wounded and knocked to the ground. Making strenuous efforts, he moved back again into a shielding position to continue administering first aid. An exploding enemy grenade mortally wounded all 3 men. SPC4. LaPointe's courageous actions at the cost of his life were an inspiration to his comrades. His gallantry and selflessness are in the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit on him, his unit, and the U.S. Army.
Several structures have been named in LaPointe's honor, including a housing complex and medical complex in Fort Campbell, Kentucky, a medical heliport in Fort Benning, Georgia, and an Army Reserve Center in Riverside, Ohio. A portion of Ohio State Route 49 in Montgomery County has been designated the "Joseph G. LaPointe Jr. Memorial Highway". On June 2, 2009, the fortieth anniversary of his death, LaPointe's widow and son were presented with the Medal of Honor flag during a ceremony at the LaPointe Army Reserve Center in Riverside.
- Huffman, Dale (June 2, 2009). "Flag ceremony recalls medic's sacrifice 40 years ago". Dayton Daily News. Dayton, Ohio. http://www.daytondailynews.com/news/dayton-news/flag-ceremony-recalls-medics-sacrifice-40-years-ago-145172.html. Retrieved June 8, 2009.
- "Medal of Honor recipients - Vietnam (A–L)". United States Army Center of Military History. June 8, 2009. http://www.history.army.mil/html/moh/vietnam-a-l.html. Retrieved June 8, 2009.
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