Ruppert L. Sargeant
Rank and Organization: First
Lieutenant, U.S. Army, Company B, 4th Battalion, 9th
Infantry, 25th Infantry Division.
Place and Date: Hau Nghia Province, Republic of Vietnam, 15 March 1967.
Entered Service At: Richmond, Va.
Born: 6 January 1938, Hampton, Va.
Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action
at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. While
leading a platoon of Company B, 1st Lt. Sargent was
investigating a reported Viet Cong meeting house and weapons
cache. A tunnel entrance which 1st Lt. Sargent observed was
booby trapped. He tried to destroy the booby trap and blow
the cover from the tunnel using hand grenades, but this attempt
was not successful. He and his demolition man moved in to
destroy the booby trap and cover which flushed a Viet Cong
soldier from the tunnel, who was immediately killed by the
nearby platoon sergeant. 1st Lt. Sargent, the platoon sergeant,
and a forward observer moved toward the tunnel entrance. As
they approached, another Viet Cong emerged and threw 2
hand grenades that landed in the midst of the group. 1st Lt.
Sargent fired 3 shots at the enemy then turned and
unhesitatingly threw himself over the 2 grenades. He was
mortally wounded, and his 2 companions were lightly wounded
when the grenades exploded. By his courageous and selfless
act of exceptional heroism, he saved the lives of the platoon
sergeant and forward observer and prevented the injury or
death of several other nearby comrades. 1st Lt. Sargent's
actions were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military
services and reflect great credit upon himself and the U.S.
Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Civilian Personnel Policy.
Black Americans in Defense of Our Nation.
Washington, D.C.: GPO, 1985.