Kenneth Stumpf, Vietnam War Medal of Honor Recipient, Dies At 77

Kenneth Stumpf, who obtained the Medal of Honor for heroism in Vietnam, died on April 23 at age 77 of pancreatic most cancers. Born in Wisconsin in 1944, Stumpf was drafted into the U.S. Military in 1965.  

The deeds that earned him America’s highest valor award came about on April 25, 1967, when Stumpf was despatched on a search-and-destroy mission in Quang Ngai province. The 22-year-old specialist was then a squad chief serving in 3rd Platoon, Firm C, 1st Battalion, 35th Infantry, 25th Infantry Division.  

After a helicopter gunner opened hearth on two enemy combatants, one survived and “crawled right into a spider gap,” disappearing from view, Stumpf later recalled in an interview. He was given orders to “take my squad and attempt to discover this dude.”  His group had solely walked about 100 meters after they discovered themselves being fired upon by unseen foes from all instructions.  

Stumpf was instructed by considered one of his males that “three of the fellows had been hit actual unhealthy and there was a bunker complicated. So 4 of us then went into the ditch and we simply fired away.”  

The wounded People lay susceptible in vegetation so dense that their comrades couldn’t see them. Two of them had been new troopers, Stumpf mentioned, whereas the third he affectionately known as “my old-timer.” “On a regular basis my ideas had been of my three guys,” he mentioned. 

Stumpf and his comrades fired fiercely on the Viet Cong taking pictures at them from timber, bushes and spider holes throughout. “I used to hold a sandbag stuffed with hand grenades on my again, on my harness. Individuals thought, ‘He’s loopy,’” Stumpf recalled. But he put the grenades to make use of in battle, expending all of them and most of his ammunition in two hours of fierce fight, he later mentioned.  

Prospects appeared grim when Stumpf determined to danger all of it to avoid wasting his buddies. “I instructed the fellows, ‘I’m stepping into to get my males.’” Though he couldn’t see the place the wounded had been mendacity within the dense scrub, Stumpf charged into the open. “My thoughts and the whole lot was like a blur to me,” he mentioned, however fortunately he “guessed proper.”  

He positioned the three wounded about 15 to -20 meters forward of him and transported them to security one after the other — alternately carrying and dragging them, and even pulling one man by his shirt to get them again to the security of the ditch the place he and others had taken cowl. All three wanted to be medevaced. Extra males and hearth assist arrived. Fighter bombers and artillery hearth razed the panorama and uncovered the Viet Cong bunkers to full view.  

By this time, Stumpf was indignant. Casualties had torn aside his squad and considered one of his comrades had died combating beside him, in accordance with an article printed within the July 1996 concern of Soldier of Fortune journal.  

Armed with a contemporary batch of grenades, Stumpf started charging the enemy bunkers, blazing a path of destruction. “I simply began throwing grenades,” he recalled. But one of many enemy fighters, peering via a slit opening in a bunker, dared to mock him. “The one which I actually wished unhealthy — I may see the man …. He was really laughing at me, with a smile like he acquired caught within the cookie jar. He had that smile on his face. [I thought], ‘“I’m getting you!’”  

Stumpf’s effort practically acquired him killed. After throwing the grenade into the bunker, the enemy threw it again out at him. Stumpf flattened himself on the bottom and ready to die. Miraculously, he was unhurt by the following explosion. With solely two grenades left to spare, Stumpf threw each into the bunker. The enemy didn’t get the final chuckle. The battle ended within the wake of the terrific explosion.

In 1968, Stumpf was awarded the Medal of Honor from President Lyndon B. Johnson. Due to his daring actions, his unit had efficiently overrun the enemy place. He served for a complete of three excursions in Vietnam and afterwards remained within the Military for 29 years. He retired in 1994.