Robert Martin Patterson
|Robert Martin Patterson|
Patterson in 2012
April 16, 1948 |
Durham, North Carolina
|Allegiance||United States of America|
|Service/branch||United States Army|
|Years of service||1966–1991|
|Rank||Command Sergeant Major|
|Unit||17th Cavalry Regiment|
|Awards||Medal of Honor|
Robert Martin Patterson (born April 16, 1948) is a retired United States Army soldier and a recipient of the United States military's highest decoration—the Medal of Honor—for his actions in the Vietnam War.
Patterson joined the Army from Raleigh, North Carolina, in 1966, and by May 6, 1968, was serving as a specialist four in Troop B, 2nd Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment. During a firefight on that day, near La Chu in the Republic of Vietnam, Patterson single-handedly destroyed a series of enemy bunkers. For his actions during the battle, he was awarded the Medal of Honor and promoted to sergeant.
Patterson reached the Army's highest enlisted rank, Command Sergeant Major, before retiring.
Medal of Honor citation
Sergeant Patterson's official Medal of Honor citation reads:
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Sgt. Patterson (then Sp4c.) distinguished himself while serving as a fire team leader of the 3d Platoon, Troop B, during an assault against a North Vietnamese Army battalion which was entrenched in a heavily fortified position. When the leading squad of the 3d Platoon was pinned down by heavy interlocking automatic weapon and rocket propelled grenade fire from 2 enemy bunkers, Sgt. Patterson and the 2 other members of his assault team moved forward under a hail of enemy fire to destroy the bunkers with grenade and machine gun fire. Observing that his comrades were being fired on from a third enemy bunker covered by enemy gunners in 1-man spider holes, Sgt. Patterson, with complete disregard for his safety and ignoring the warning of his comrades that he was moving into a bunker complex, assaulted and destroyed the position. Although exposed to intensive small arm and grenade fire from the bunkers and their mutually supporting emplacements. Sgt. Patterson continued his assault upon the bunkers which were impeding the advance of his unit. Sgt. Patterson singlehandedly destroyed by rifle and grenade fire 5 enemy bunkers, killed 8 enemy soldiers and captured 7 weapons. His dauntless courage and heroism inspired his platoon to resume the attack and to penetrate the enemy defensive position. Sgt. Patterson's action at the risk of his life has reflected great credit upon himself, his unit, and the U.S. Army.
- "Medal of Honor Recipients - Vietnam (M–Z)". Medal of Honor Citations. United States Army Center of Military History. August 3, 2009. Retrieved October 17, 2010.
- Griggs, Travis (October 17, 2010). "Wannabe warriors an 'insult' to their bravery". Pensacola News Journal. Pensacola, Florida. Archived from the original on October 17, 2010.
- "List of Living Recipients M-R". Congressional Medal of Honor Society. Retrieved 2007-06-27.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Robert Martin Patterson.|
- "Interview with Patterson". Pritzker Military Museum & Library. April 22, 2010. Retrieved 2014-04-30.