b. 13/09/1947 Cleveland, Ohio.
DATE OF MOH ACTION: 29/06/1968 Dak To, Vietnam.
Herda joined the Army from his birth city of Cleveland, Ohio, and by June 29, 1968 was serving as a Private First Class in Company A, 1st Battalion (Airborne), 506th Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division (Airmobile). During an enemy attack on that day, near Dak To in Quang Trang Province, Republic of Vietnam, Herda smothered the blast of an enemy-thrown hand grenade with his body to protect those around him. He survived the blast, although severely wounded, and was subsequently promoted to Specialist Four and awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions.
Herda published the juvenile sword and sorcery novel, The Cup of Death: Chronicles of the Dragons of the Magi in 2007.
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Sp4c. Herda (then Pfc.) distinguished himself while serving as a grenadier with Company A. Company A was part of a battalion-size night defensive perimeter when a large enemy force initiated an attack on the friendly units. While other enemy elements provided diversionary fire and indirect weapons fire to the west, a sapper force of approximately 30 men armed with hand grenades and small charges attacked Company A's perimeter from the east. As the sappers were making a last, violent assault, 5 of them charged the position defended by Sp4c. Herda and 2 comrades, 1 of whom was wounded and lay helpless in the bottom of the foxhole. Sp4c. Herda fired at the aggressors until they were within 10 feet of his position and 1 of their grenades landed in the foxhole. He fired 1 last round from his grenade launcher, hitting 1 of the enemy soldiers in the head, and then, with no concern for his safety, Sp4c. Herda immediately covered the blast of the grenade with his body. The explosion wounded him grievously, but his selfless action prevented his 2 comrades from being seriously injured or killed and enabled the remaining defender to kill the other sappers. By his gallantry at the risk of his life in the highest traditions of the military service, Sp4c. Herda has reflected great credit on himself, his unit, and the U.S. Army.
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