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Specialist 5 Charles Hagemeister

Date of Award: May 14, 1968
Conflict: Vietnam War
Branch: U.S. Army

Sp5c. Charles Hagemeister portraitOn March 20, 1967, while in Binh Dinh Province, Republic of Vietnam, Charles Hagemeister’s platoon suffered a heavy enemy attack as the result of an ambush, and without hesitation, he valiantly risked his life to treat and move his fallen comrades to safety, also seizing a wounded soldiers’ weapon and eliminating the enemy threats in the area.

With only 72 hours left in his service contract, Hagemeister was awarded his Medal of Honor by President Lyndon Johnson in a White House ceremony on May 14, 1968. As President Johnson officially presented Hagemeister the medal, he asked the young hero how much longer he had left in his service. The president then turned to a member of the Army brass and said, “I want you to talk to this young man after we’re done here and change his mind.” The officer did, and Hagemeister reenlisted and later became a commissioned staying in the Army until 1990.

Citation: “Attempting to evacuate the seriously wounded soldiers, Specialist 5 Hagemeister was taken under fire at close range by an enemy sniper. Realizing that the lives of his fellow soldiers depended on his actions, Hagemeister seized a rifle from a fallen comrade, killed the sniper, 3 other enemy soldiers who were attempting to encircle his position and silenced an enemy machine gun that covered the area with deadly fire. Unable to remove the wounded to a less exposed location and aware of the enemy's efforts to isolate his unit, he dashed through the fusillade of fire to secure help from a nearby platoon.”

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