Civil Rights / Cold War
Vietnam Medals Don Jenkins

Don Jenkins

Rank and organization: Staff Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company A, 2d Battalion, 39th Infantry, 9th Infantry Division. Place and date: Kien Phong Province, Republic of Vietnam, 6 January 1969. Entered service at: Nashville, Tenn. Born: 18 April 1948, Quality, Ky.

Citation:  For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. S/Sgt. Jenkins (then Pfc.), Company A, distinguished himself while serving as a machine gunner on a reconnaissance mission. When his company came under heavy crossfire from an enemy complex, S/Sgt. Jenkins unhesitatingly maneuvered forward to a perilously exposed position and began placing suppressive fire on the enemy. When his own machinegun jammed, he immediately obtained a rifle and continued to fire into the enemy bunkers until his machinegun was made operative by his assistant. He exposed himself to extremely heavy fire when he repeatedly both ran and crawled across open terrain to obtain resupplies of ammunition until he had exhausted all that was available for his machinegun.

Displaying tremendous presence of mind, he then armed himself with 2 antitank weapons and, by himself, maneuvered through the hostile fusillade to within 20 meters of an enemy bunker to destroy that position. After moving back to the friendly defensive perimeter long enough to secure yet another weapon, a grenade launcher, S/Sgt. Jenkins moved forward to a position providing no protection and resumed placing accurate fire on the enemy until his ammunition was again exhausted.

During this time he was seriously wounded by shrapnel. Undaunted and displaying great courage, he moved forward 100 meters to aid a friendly element that was pinned down only a few meters from the enemy. This he did with complete disregard for his own wound and despite having been advised that several previous rescue attempts had failed at the cost of the life of 1 and the wounding of others. Ignoring the continuing intense fire and his painful wounds, and hindered by darkness, he made 3 trips to the beleaguered unit, each time pulling a wounded comrade back to safety. S/Sgt. Jenkins' extraordinary valor, dedication, and indomitable spirit inspired his fellow soldiers to repulse the determined enemy attack and ultimately to defeat the larger force. S/Sgt. Jenkins’ risk of his life reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the U.S. Army. 

(S/Sgt. Jenkins survived the fight and the war.)



Picture Credits:
  • Photograph of Don Jenkins, Medal of Honor recipient. Unlike many Medal of Honor recipients, Jenkins survived his ordeal. Courtesy of HomeofHeroes.com


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