Congressional Medal of Honor


Garfield M. Langhhorn

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Garfield M. Langhorn
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.

Source: Department of Defense.
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:


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