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Sgt. Gary Beikirch

Date of Award: October 15, 1973
Conflict: Vietnam War
Branch: U.S. Army

Sgt. Gary Beikirch portraitIn 1967, after completing two years of college, Beikirch enlisted into the U.S. Army and completed his training for the Special Forces. By 1969, he had also finished his medical training and was heading for a tour of duty in Vietnam. As part of the Detachment B-24, Company B, 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), Beikirch was stationed at Camp Dak Seang, and worked closely and built a bond with 12 other Americans and about 2,300 villagers, mainly women and children.

On April 1, 1970, the peaceful camp was surrounded and brutally attacked by North Vietnamese regiments. Beikirch, without a second thought, risked his life to aid the wounded, even at one point using his body as a shield over a stranded villager during a mortar explosion. As the smoke cleared, Beikirch had also suffered serious injuries, but survived the attack. He was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor by President Richard Nixon in 1973, and also earned the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Silver Star.

Citation: “The allied defenders suffered a number of casualties as a result of an intense, devastating attack launched by the enemy from well-concealed positions surrounding the camp. Sgt. Beikirch, with complete disregard for his personal safety, moved unhesitatingly through the withering enemy fire to his fallen comrades, applied first aid to their wounds and assisted them to the medical aid station.”

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