Gordon Ray Roberts

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For other people named Gordon Roberts, see Gordon Roberts (disambiguation).
Gordon Ray Roberts
Moh roberts.JPG
COL Gordon R. Roberts
Nickname(s) "Bird Dog"[1]
Born (1950-06-14) June 14, 1950 (age 64)
Middletown, Ohio
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service 1968–1971, 1991–2012
Rank Colonel
Unit 1st Sustainment Command (Theater), Fort Bragg, North Carolina[2]
Commands held Brigade Commander Walter Reed Army Medical Center[2]
Officer in charge of force protection, 1st COSCOM, Camp Anaconda, Balad, Iraq
Battles/wars Vietnam
Iraq
Awards Medal of Honor
Silver Star
Bronze Star
Other work Social worker

Gordon Ray Roberts (born June 14, 1950) is a former United States Army officer and a Medal of Honor recipient for his "conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty" on July 11, 1969 while an infantryman with the 1st Battalion, 506th Infantry, 101st Airborne Division during the Vietnam War.

Biography[edit]

Gordon Roberts was born in Middletown, Ohio on June 14, 1950. His hometown is Lebanon, Ohio.

Vietnam service[edit]

Roberts as an enlisted soldier.

Three days after Roberts graduated from high school, he enlisted in the United States Army in May 1968. He went through training at Fort Benning, Georgia, and then attended infantry school. Roberts was placed in Company B, 1st Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, and deployed to the Republic of Vietnam in April 1969.

By July 11, 1969, Roberts had already distinguished himself, being awarded both the Silver Star and the Bronze Star.[1] On that day, Roberts single-handedly wiped out three machine gun nests, saving the lives of over 20 fellow soldiers.[1][3] Roberts spent 14 months in Vietnam until he returned to the United States in June 1970.

On March 2, 1971, he was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Richard M. Nixon for his actions on July 11, 1969.[4] Roberts was the youngest living Medal of Honor recipient and the only one still on active duty until 2010, when Army Staff Sergeant Salvatore Giunta was awarded the medal.[3][4]

Post-Vietnam life[edit]

Following his first enlistment in the Army, Roberts attended the University of Dayton and received a bachelor’s degree in sociology in 1974.[3] He married and became the father of a son and a daughter. After eighteen years as a social worker, he returned to the Army and received a direct commission as an officer. He then came on active duty in 1991. His past assignments include eight years of company and field grade command assignments in Korea, Fort Bragg, Haiti, Fort Gordon and Iraq as well as staff assignments at Hunter Army Airfield, Fort Benning, and Kuwait. From June 2008 through June 2010 he served as the Brigade Commander for Walter Reed Army Medical Center.[2] On July 1, 2010, he began duty as command surgeon for the 1st Sustainment Command (Theater) at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.[5][6] He later assumed duties as the unit's forward Chief of Staff at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait.

Roberts retired from the Army on May 18, 2012.[7]

Awards and decorations[edit]

In addition to the Medal of Honor, Gordon Roberts's military awards include the Silver Star, the Bronze Star, the Air Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal, the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Parachutist Badge, and the Presidential Unit Citation.

Badges

Medal of Honor citation[edit]

A light blue neck ribbon with a gold star shaped medallion hanging from it. The ribbon is similar in shape to a bowtie with 13 white stars in the center of the ribbon.

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Sgt. Roberts distinguished himself while serving as a rifleman in Company B, during combat operations.

Sgt. Roberts' platoon was maneuvering along a ridge to attack heavily fortified enemy bunker positions which had pinned down an adjoining friendly company. As the platoon approached the enemy positions, it was suddenly pinned down by heavy automatic weapons and grenade fire from camouflaged enemy fortifications atop the overlooking hill. Seeing his platoon immobilized and in danger of failing in its mission, Sgt. Roberts crawled rapidly toward the closest enemy bunker. With complete disregard for his safety, he leaped to his feet and charged the bunker, firing as he ran. Despite the intense enemy fire directed at him, Sgt. Roberts silenced the 2-man bunker.

Without hesitation, Sgt. Roberts continued his 1-man assault on a second bunker. As he neared the second bunker, a burst of enemy fire knocked his rifle from his hands. Sgt. Roberts picked up a rifle dropped by a comrade and continued his assault, silencing the bunker.

He continued his charge against a third bunker and destroyed it with well-thrown hand grenades. Although Sgt. Roberts was now cut off from his platoon, he continued his assault against a fourth enemy emplacement. He fought through a heavy hail of fire to join elements of the adjoining company which had been pinned down by the enemy fire.

Although continually exposed to hostile fire, he assisted in moving wounded personnel from exposed positions on the hilltop to an evacuation area before returning to his unit.

By his gallant and selfless actions, Sgt. Roberts contributed directly to saving the lives of his comrades and served as an inspiration to his fellow soldiers in the defeat of the enemy force. Sgt. Roberts' extraordinary heroism in action at the risk of his life were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the U.S. Army.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Citations
  1. ^ a b c Kinney, "Our Youngest Hero", 2007.
  2. ^ a b c Huffman, "Medical Center Brigade commander prepares to leave with pride in Walter Reed", 2010.
  3. ^ a b c "Gordon Roberts, '74". UD Story. University of Dayton. 
  4. ^ a b Huffman,"Decorated soldier comes 'home'", 2007.
  5. ^ Gould, Joe; Jim Tice (July 25, 2010). "Ex-Walter Reed CSM accused of faking his record". Navy Times (Springfield, Virginia). Archived from the original on July 25, 2010. 
  6. ^ Cuningham, Henry (July 15, 2010). "Dowd takes over 1st Theater Sustainment Command". The Fayetteville Observer (Fayetteville, North Carolina). Archived from the original on July 25, 2010. 
  7. ^ "Vietnam War MOH recipient retires from the Army". Stars and Stripes. Retrieved 2012-05-19. 
    Ferdinand Detres (22 May 2012). "News: Medal of Honor recipient retires after 44 years of service". 1st Sustainment Command (Theater) Public Affairs. Defense Video & Imagery Distribution System. Retrieved 5 March 2013. 
General references