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William D. Port
Army Medal of Honor
Born October 13, or October 31, 1941[1]
Died November 27, 1968(1968-11-27)
Place of birth Petersburg, Pennsylvania
Place of burial Arlington National Cemetery
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Army
Rank Sergeant
Unit 7th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Air Cavalry Division
Battles/wars Vietnam War
Awards Medal of Honor

William David Port (October 13, or October 31, 1941[1] – November 27, 1968) was a United States Army soldier and a recipient of the United States military's highest decoration—the Medal of Honor—for his actions in the Vietnam War.

Biography[edit | edit source]

Port joined the Army from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and by January 12, 1968 was serving as a private first class in Company C, 5th Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Air Cavalry Division. During a firefight on that day, in the Que Son Valley, Quang Nam Province,[2] Republic of Vietnam, rescued a wounded comrade and then smothered the blast of an enemy-thrown grenade with his body to protect other soldiers. Port survived the blast, but was seriously wounded and captured by the enemy. He died while a prisoner of war ten months later. Port was promoted to Sergeant and posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions during the battle in August 1970.

Port, aged 27 at his death, was initially buried in a jungle grave along with 8 other prisoners. His remains were recovered in August 1985, and he was buried in Arlington National Cemetery two months later.[3] In Huntingdon, Pennsylvania there is a bridge across the Juniata River named after William Port. A plaque describes his heroism.

Reference from: william d port (web) Military Branch: Army Rank: SGT Serial Number: 177329730 Component: Selective Service Posthumous promotion as indicated Pay grade: E4 MOS (Military Occupational Specialty code): 11B10

Quote from: Steve Loving "Bill was drafted at a much older age than most of us kids - we were mostly 18 or 19 and even the officers were in their early 20's. Bill was in his late 20's. While most of us always seemed to have something to gripe about, I can never recall Bill saying anything negative. He was a quiet, private guy and he led his life that way—with quiet dignity. That dreadful day in January is a day that our platoon will never forget, and many of us are able to celebrate life because of Bill's sacrifice. He will never be forgotten by any of us who served with him."

Medal of Honor[edit | edit source]

Rank and organization: Sergeant (then Pfc.), U.S. Army, Company C, 5th Battalion, 7th Cavalry, 1st Air Cavalry Division. Place and date: Que Son Valley, Quang Nam Province, Republic of Vietnam, January 12, 1968. Entered service at: Harrisburg, Pa. Born: October 13, 1941, Petersburg, Pa. Citation:

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Sgt. Port distinguished himself while serving as a rifleman with Company C, which was conducting combat operations against an enemy force in the Que Son Valley. As Sgt. Port's platoon was moving to cut off a reported movement of enemy soldiers, the platoon came under heavy 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, Sgt. 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, Sgt. Port and 3 comrades were in position behind an embankment when an enemy grenade landed in their midst. Sgt. Port, realizing the danger to his fellow soldiers, shouted the warning, "Grenade," and unhesitatingly hurled himself towards the grenade to shield his comrades from the explosion. Through his exemplary courage and devotion he saved the lives of his fellow soldiers and gave the members of his platoon the inspiration needed to hold their position. Sgt. Port's selfless concern for his comrades, at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty are in keeping with the highest tradition of the military service and reflect great credit on himself, his unit, and the U.S. Army.

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Army Center of Military History.
  1. 1.0 1.1 Sources are inconsistent on Port's date of birth. His Medal of Honor citation gives October 13, 1941 ( "Medal of Honor recipients". Medal of Honor citations. United States Army Center of Military History. August 3, 2009. http://www.history.army.mil/html/moh/vietnam-m-z.html. Retrieved July 1, 2010. , while his government-issued headstone gives October 31, 1941 ("William D. Port". Claim to Fame: Medal of Honor recipients. Find a Grave. http://www.findagrave.com/memorial/7668636. Retrieved 2007-06-27. ).
  2. Port's Medal of Honor citation originally said "Heip Duc Province", which did not exist. In 1975 this was corrected to Quang Nam Province, but uncorrected versions have frequently been republished.
  3. Arlington National Cemetery

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