b. 13/01/1948 Olney, Illinois. d. 03/03/1969 Thua Thien-Hue, Vietnam.
DATE OF MOH ACTION: 03/03/1969 Thua Thien-Hue, Vietnam.
Alfred M. Wilson was born on January 13, 1948 in Olney, Illinois. He moved with his family to Odessa, Texas in 1950, and attended Burleson Elementary School, Crockett Junior High School, and graduated from Odessa Senior High School in 1967. He was active in football and track as well as the Distributive Education Club while in high school. His hobbies included shooting, hunting, fishing, football, and tennis. He enlisted in the United States Marine Corps Reserve at Abilene, Texas on November 1, 1967, and was discharged to enlist in the Regular Marine Corps on January 14, 1968.
He underwent recruit training with the 3rd Recruit Training Battalion, Recruit Training Regiment, Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego, California. Upon completion of recruit training, in April 1968, he was transferred to Camp Pendleton, California, and completed individual combat training with Company D, 1st Battalion, 2nd Infantry Training Regiment, in May, and basic infantry training in June. He was promoted to private first class on July 1, 1968.
Private First Class Wilson arrived in the Republic of Vietnam in July 1968, and was assigned duty as a rifleman with Company D, 1st Battalion, 27th Marines, 1st Marine Division. He served in this capacity until September 1968. He was later reassigned as a rifleman with Company M, 3rd Battalion, 9th Marines, 3rd Marine Division.
Wilson was killed in action in the vicinity of Fire Support Base Cunningham, Quang Tri Province on March 3, 1969. While returning from a reconnaissance mission, Wilson's platoon was ambushed. While facing fire to retrieve the machine gun from the platoon's wounded machine gunner, an enemy hand grenade was thrown between Wilson and a fellow Marine. Wilson threw himself on the grenade, absorbing the full force of the blast, sacrificing his life. For these actions, Wilson was posthumously promoted to the rank of Corporal; and was awarded the Medal of Honor. On April 20, 1970, his Medal of Honor was presented to his family by Vice President Spiro T. Agnew at the White House.
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a Rifleman with Company M, Third Battalion, Ninth Marines, Third Marine Division in action against hostile forces in the Republic of Vietnam. On March 3, 1969, while returning from a reconnaissance in force mission in the vicinity of Fire Support Base Cunningham in Quang Tri Province, the First Platoon of Company M came under intense automatic weapons fire and a grenade attack from a well-concealed North Vietnamese Army force pinning down the center of the column. Rapidly assessing the situation, Private First Class Wilson, acting as Squad Leader, skillfully maneuvered his squad to form a base of fire and act as a blocking force while the point squad moved to outflank the enemy. During the ensuing fire fight, both his machine gunner and assistant machine gunner were seriously wounded and unable to operate their weapon. Realizing the importance of recovering the M-60 machine gun and maintaining a heavy volume of fire against the hostile force, Private First Class Wilson, with complete disregard for his own safety, followed by another Marine, fearlessly dashed across the fire-swept terrain to recover the weapon. As they reached the machine gun, a North Vietnamese soldier threw a grenade at the Marine. Reacting instantly, Private First Class Wilson fired a burst from his M-16 rifle killing the enemy soldier. Observing the grenade fall between himself and the other Marine, Private First Class Wilson, fully realizing the inevitable result of his actions, shouted to his companion and unhesitatingly threw himself on the grenade, absorbing the full force of the explosion with his own body. His heroic actions inspired his platoon members to maximum effort as they aggressively attacked and defeated the enemy. Private First Class Wilson's indomitable courage, inspiring valor and selfless devotion to duty upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.
BURIAL LOCATION: SUNSET MEMORIAL GARDENS, ODESSA, TEXAS.
Prayer Section, Lot 54, Grave 4
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