b. 06/07/1941 Wewoka, Oklahoma. d. 20/09/1965 Binh Duong, Vietnam.
DATE OF MOH ACTION: 20/09/1965 Binh Duong, Vietnam.
Born in Wewoka, Oklahoma, Pierce's family moved to California when he was young and he was raised there in the city of Taft. He and his wife Verlin had three children: a daughter, Teresa, and two sons, Kelly and Greggory.
Pierce joined the Army from Fresno, California in 1961, and by September 20, 1965, was serving as a sergeant in the Headquarters and Headquarters Company of the 1st Battalion (Airborne), 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade. On that day, near Bn Cát in the central highlands of South Vietnam, Pierce smothered the blast of an anti-personnel mine with his body, sacrificing his life to protect his fellow soldiers. For his actions, he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor on February 24, 1966, and promoted to staff sergeant. The medal was formally presented to his family by President Lyndon B. Johnson during a ceremony at the White House.
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty. Sgt. Pierce was serving as squad leader in a reconnaissance platoon when his patrol was ambushed by hostile forces. Through his inspiring leadership and personal courage, the squad succeeded in eliminating an enemy machinegun and routing the opposing force. While pursuing the fleeing enemy, the squad came upon a dirt road and, as the main body of his men entered the road, Sgt. Pierce discovered an antipersonnel mine emplaced in the road bed. Realizing that the mine could destroy the majority of his squad, Sgt. Pierce saved the lives of his men at the sacrifice of his life by throwing himself directly onto the mine as it exploded. Through his indomitable courage, complete disregard for his safety, and profound concern for his fellow soldiers, he averted loss of life and injury to the members of his squad. Sgt. Pierce's extraordinary heroism, at the cost of his life, are in the highest traditions of the U.S. Army and reflect great credit upon himself and the Armed Forces of his country.
BURIAL LOCATION: WASCO MEMORIAL PARK, WASCO, CALIFORNIA.
Lot 63, Grave L
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