Congressional Medal of Honor

Charles Calvin Rogers

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Presentation Ceremony at The White House, May 14, 1970. President Nixon's Remarks Upon Awarding the Medal of Honor to Twelve Members of the Armed Services. Citation for Charles Calvin Rogers read by Secretary of the Army Thaddeus R. Beal.

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MAY 14, 1970



Ladies and gentlemen,

I am very honored to welcome this group here in the East Room of the White House this morning, and particularly because this is one of those occasions that is one of the really mountaintop experiences for a President of the United States.

The Medal of Honor has been described many times, and there are no words that can add to the grandeur of that medal, what it means to those who receive it.

I will simply say today that as we think of this great country of ours—particularly in this room, where we see the pictures of President Washington and Martha Washington, who, incidentally, were the only First Family that never lived in this house; it wasn't built until after their term—as we think of the beginning of this country 190 years ago, we think of it as the land of the free. We should all be reminded that it could not be the land of the free if it were not also the home of the brave.

Today we honor the brave men, the men who, far beyond the call of duty, served their country magnificently in a war very far away, in a war which is one, many times, not understood and not supported by some in this country.

I simply want to say to those who receive the medal and to those who are your families, that there are millions of your countrymen who today honor you as I have the privilege of representing them by presenting this medal to you.

I believe also as I stand here, that as time goes on, millions more of your countrymen will look back at the experience that you have participated in and they will reach the conclusion that you served the cause of the land of the free by being brave, brave far beyond the call of duty; so brave that you received the very highest award that this Nation can provide.

We will now go forward with the ceremony, and I understand, incidentally, that as I present the awards, we will move to each recipient and after I present the award to them, I am going to turn around for a family picture with each of them, so if you will all sort of stay in place until we get the pictures taken.

Secretary Beal of the Army will read the citations.

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, March 3, 1863, has awarded in the name of The Congress the Medal of Honor to Lieutenant Colonel Charles C. Rogers United States Army for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty.

Lieutenant Colonel Charles C. Rogers, Field Artillery, distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action on I November 1968, while serving as Commanding Officer, 1st Battalion, 5th Artillery, 1st Infantry Division during the defense of a forward fire support base in the Republic of Vietnam. In the early morning hours, the fire support base was subjected to a concentrated bombardment of heavy, mortar, rocket and rocket propelled grenade fire. Simultaneously the position was struck by a human wave ground assault, led by sappers who breached the defensive barriers with bangalore torpedoes and penetrated the defensive perimeter. Colonel Rogers with complete disregard for his own safety moved through the hail of fragments from bursting enemy rounds to the embattled area. He aggressively rallied the dazed artillery crewmen to man their howitzers and he directed their fire on the assaulting enemy. Although knocked to the ground and wounded by an exploding round, Colonel Rogers sprang to his feet and led a small counterattack force against an enemy element that had penetrated the howitzer positions. Although painfully wounded a second time during the assault, Colonel Rogers pressed the attack killing several of the enemy and driving the remainder from the positions. Refusing medical treatment, Colonel Rogers reestablished and reinforced the defensive positions. As a second human wave attack was launched against another sector of the perimeter, Colonel Rogers directed artillery fire on the assaulting enemy and led a second counterattack against the charging forces. His valorous example rallied the beleaguered defenders to repulse and defeat the enemy onslaught. Colonel Rogers moved from position to position through the heavy enemy fire, giving encouragement and direction to his men. At dawn the determined enemy launched a third assault against the fire base in an attempt to overrun the position. Colonel Rogers moved to the threatened area and directed lethal fire on the enemy forces. Seeing a howitzer inoperative due to casualties, Colonel Rogers joined the surviving members of the crew to return the howitzer to action. While directing the position defense, Colonel Rogers was seriously wounded by fragments from a heavy mortar round which exploded on the parapet of the gun position. Although too severely wounded to physically lead the defenders, Colonel Rogers continued to give encouragement and direction to his men in the defeating and repelling of the enemy attack. Colonel Rogers' dauntless courage and heroism inspired the defenders of the fire support base to the heights of valor to defeat a determined and numerically superior enemy force. His relentless spirit of aggressiveness, conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his own life above and beyond the call of duty are in the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit and the United States Army.

Thank you very much, Mr. Secretary. As we conclude this ceremony, I can only say that I hope that those of us who have the responsibilities in Government here can work as effectively, as courageously in the cause of a just and lasting peace as you have served this country in war.

At the conclusion of these ceremonies in the East Room we always like to invite our guests to make this your home, because this belongs to the whole country. Down in the State Dining Room we have some refreshments that you might enjoy, some coffee, tea, pastries, and so forth.

Mrs. Nixon, unfortunately, today is attending a luncheon at the Congress which traditionally is given for the First Lady, but my daughter, Julie Eisenhower, will be your hostess, and I know she will very much enjoy welcoming all of you, and particularly seeing all of these young children who are here.

Again, we are very proud to have you in this house. It will always belong to you, and very especially belong to you in our hearts.

Thank you very much.

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