Garfield M. Langhorn
Rank and Organization:
Private First class, U.S. Army, Troop C, 7th Squadron
(Airmobile), 17th Cavalry, 1st Aviation Brigade.
Place and Date: Pleiku Province, Republic of Vietnam, 15 January 1969.
Entered Service At: Brooklyn, N.Y.
Born: 10 September 1948, Cumberland, Va.
Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and
intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the
call of duty. Pfc. Langhorn distinguished himself while serving
as a radio operator with Troop C, near plei Djereng in pleiku
province. Pfc. Langhorn's platoon was inserted into a landing
zone to rescue 2 pilots of a Cobra helicopter shot down by
enemy fire on a heavily timbered slope. He provided radio
coordination with the command-and-control aircraft overhead
while the troops hacked their way through dense undergrowth
to the wreckage, where both aviators were found dead. As the
men were taking the bodies to a pickup site, they suddenly
came under intense fire from North Vietnamese soldiers in
camouflaged bunkers to the front and right flank, and within
minutes they were surrounded. Pfc. Langhorn immediately
radioed for help from the orbiting gunships, which began to
place minigun and rocket fire on the aggressors. He then lay
between the platoon leader and another man, operating the
radio and providing covering fire for the wounded who had
been moved to the center of the small perimeter. Darkness
soon fell, making it impossible for the gunships to give accurate
support, and the aggressors began to probe the perimeter. An
enemy hand grenade landed in front of Pfc. Langhorn and a
few feet from personnel who had become casualties. Choosing
to protect these wounded, he unhesitatingly threw himself on
the grenade, scooped it beneath his body and absorbed the
blast. By sacrificing himself, he saved the lives of his comrades.
Pfc. Langhorn's extraordinary heroism at the cost of his life was
in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and
reflect great credit on himself, his unit, and the U.S. Army.
Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Civilian Personnel Policy.
Black Americans in Defense of Our Nation.
Washington, D.C.: GPO, 1985.
Reagan, Ronald. "Remarks in Denver, Colorado, at the Annual Convention of the National Association
for the Advancement of Colored People." (June 29, 1981). Retrieved September 14, 2005 from the
World Wide Web: http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?