Walter K. Singleton

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Walter Keith Singleton
Singleton WK.jpg
Walter K. Singleton, Medal of Honor recipient
Nickname(s)Zeke
Born(1944-12-07)December 7, 1944
Memphis, Tennessee
DiedMarch 24, 1967(1967-03-24) (aged 22)
Gio Linh District, South Vietnam
Place of burial
Memory Hill Gardens (now Memphis Memorial Gardens), Memphis, Tennessee
AllegianceUnited States of America
Service/branchSeal of the United States Marine Corps.svg United States Marine Corps
Years of service1963-1967
RankUSMC-E5.svg Sergeant
UnitA Company, 1st Battalion, 9th Marines
Battles/warsVietnam War 
AwardsMedal of Honor ribbon.svg Medal of Honor
Purple Heart ribbon.svgPurple Heart Medal
Combat Action Ribbon.svg Combat Action Ribbon

Walter Keith Singleton (December 7, 1944– March 24, 1967) was a United States Marine Corps sergeant who was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously by President Lyndon B. Johnson, for his actions above and beyond the call of duty in Vietnam on March 24, 1967, during the Vietnam War.

Biography[edit]

Walter Keith Singleton was born on December 7, 1944 in Memphis, Tennessee, the son of Mr. and Mrs. George P. Singleton (when he was born during World War II, his father was a U.S. Army POW in Germany).[1] He had two (three) brothers and four sisters. He graduated from Nicholas Blackwell High School (Bartlett High School) in Bartlett, Tennessee, in June 1963;[2] while attending school, he ran track. He liked to hunt and fish with his father and was a member of the Future Farmers of America (FFA).

On August 1, 1963, he and his brother Bobby Jo, enlisted together in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve at Memphis[3] and integrated into the Regular Marine Corps the following September. Ordered to the Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, South Carolina, he completed recruit training with the 3rd Recruit Training Battalion in February 1964. He was promoted to private first class on March 1. Transferred to Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, he was assigned duty as ammo-carrier with Company E, 2nd Battalion, 6th Marines, 2nd Marine Division until November 1965. While stationed at Camp Lejeune, he was promoted to lance corporal on October 1, 1964, and to corporal on August 1, 1965. In November, Corporal Singleton returned to the Marine Corps Recruit Depot at Parris Island and served as an instructor with the Weapons Training Battalion, Recruit Training Regiment, with the additional duty of training marksmanship to midshipmen at the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland. While performing this additional duty, he received a letter of appreciation with a trophy for qualifying 100 percent of the officers-to-be.[4]

Corporal Singleton (and his brother) was promoted to sergeant while serving in Okinawa on September 1, 1966.[5] He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment and on November 3, he was assigned to Company A, 1st Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division as a supply sergeant.[6] On December 11, he and his unit arrived in South Vietnam from Okinawa[7][8] (under service regulations, only one brother was allowed to go to Vietnam). On March 24, 1967, the 1st Battalion, 9th Marines began Operation Prairie III; that same day, in the Gio Linh District, Quang Tri Province, Sergeant Singleton's Company A came under intense enemy fire at the village of Phu An. He was mortally wounded after advancing from his relatively safe position in the rear to help his company's corpsmen evacuate numerous wounded away from the enemy kill zone. Just before Singleton was killed by enemy fire, he managed to make a single-handed assault with a machine gun on the enemy's position and destroy it, killing eight and driving the remainder away. It was for these acts of bravery, which had saved several more of his comrades' lives, that he was awarded the Medal of Honor.[9]

Singleton's parents, Mr. and Mrs. George P. Singleton, were presented their son's Medal of Honor on September 4, 1968, by the Secretary of the Navy Paul R. Ignatius during ceremonies at the Capital's Marine Corps Barracks, Washington, D.C.[10]

Singleton is buried next to his parents at Memory Hill Gardens (now Memphis Memorial Gardens) at 3700 N Germantown Road in his hometown of Memphis, Tennessee.

Military awards[edit]

Singleton's military decorations and awards:

Bronze star
Medal of Honor Purple Heart Medal[11] Combat Action Ribbon
Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal Navy Presidential Unit Citation National Defense Service Medal
Vietnam Service Medal w/ one ​316" bronze star Republic of Vietnam Military Merit Medal Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross w/ Palm
Republic of Vietnam Meritorious Unit Citation (Gallantry Cross) w/ Palm and Frame[12] Republic of Vietnam Meritorious Unit Citation (Civil Actions) w/ Palm and Frame[13] Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal w/ 1960- device


Medal of Honor citation[edit]

Singleton's Medal of Honor Citation reads as follows:

The President of the United States in the name of The Congress takes pride in presenting the MEDAL OF HONOR posthumously to

SERGEANT WALTER K. SINGLETON
UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS

for service as set forth in the following

   CITATION:

"For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as Supply Sergeant, Company A, First Battalion, Nineth Marines, Third Marine Division on 24 March 1967. Sergeant Singleton's company was conducting combat operations in Gio Linh District, Quang Tri Province, Republic of Vietnam, when the lead platoon received intense small arms, automatic weapons, rocket, and mortar fire from a well entrenched enemy force. As the company fought its way forward, the extremely heavy enemy fire caused numerous friendly casualties. Sensing the need for early treatment of the wounded, Sergeant Singleton quickly moved from his relatively safe position in the rear of the foremost point of the advance and made numerous trips through the enemy killing zone to move the injured men out of the danger area. Noting that a large part of the enemy fire was coming from a hedgerow, he seized a machine gun and assaulted the key enemy location, delivering devastating fire as he advanced. He forced his way through the hedgerow directly into the enemy strong point. Although he was mortally wounded, his fearless attack killed eight of the enemy and drove the remainder from the hedgerow. Sergeant Singleton's bold actions completely disorganized the enemy defense and saved the lives of many of his comrades. His daring initiative, selfless devotion to duty and indomitable fighting spirit reflected great credit upon himself and the Marine Corps, and his performance upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service."[14]

/S/ LYNDON B. JOHNSON

Namings and honors[edit]

The following namings and honors are in honor of Sgt. Walter K. Singleton:

Marine Corps namings
Community namings
  • Sgt. Walter Singleton display (March 23, 1976) - Barrett High School, Barrett, Tennessee
  • Sgt. Walter K. Singleton Park - on Castleman Street in Memphis, Tennessee
  • Singleton Community Center (1983) - Bartlett, Tennessee[17]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Inline
  1. ^ Bayne, William (September 28, 1989). Toss of coin sent brother to tour of duty in Vietnam, Commercial Appeal [1]
  2. ^ Thomas, William (March 24, 1976). Hero's Memory Inspires Burst of Patriotism, Commercial Appeal [2]
  3. ^ Death Wins Final Coin Flip With Shelbian In Vietnam, March 29, 1967. Commercial Appeal [3]
  4. ^ Heroism Rises With Puff Of Smoke, September 4, 1968. Commercial Appeal [4]
  5. ^ Death Wins Final Coin Flip With Shelbian In Vietnam, March 29, 1967. Commercial Appeal [5]
  6. ^ News Release, United States Marine Corps, September 4, 1968. Release No. RRT-210-68
  7. ^ The Walking Dead-Modern Day Spartans 1st Battalion, 9th Marines, The Veterans Voice https://www.theveteransvoice.com/the-walking-dead-modern-day-spartans1st-battalion
  8. ^ Death Wins Final Coin Flip With Shelbian In Vietnam, March 29, 1967. Commercial Appeal [6]
  9. ^ News Release, United States Marine Corps, September 4, 1968. Release No. RRT-210-68
  10. ^ News Release, United States Marine Corps, September 4, 1968. Release No. RRT-210-68
  11. ^ Marine Corps Awards Manual, SecNavInst 1650.1H, Aug. 22, 2006
  12. ^ Marine Corps Awards Manual, SecNavInst 1650.1H, Aug. 22, 2006
  13. ^ Marine Corps Awards Manual, SecNavInst 1650.1H, Aug. 22, 2006
  14. ^ U.S. Marines In Vietnam, Fighting the North Vietnamese, 1967 (Library of Congress Card No. 77-604776 / PCN 19000309000. History and Museum Division, Headquarters U.S. Marine Corps, Washington, D.C. 1984 (Appendix D, Medal of Honor Citations, 1967, P. 310, Sergeant Walter K. Singleton) https://archive.org/details/FightingTheNorthVietnamese/page/n321 https://archive.org/details/FightingTheNorthVietnamese
  15. ^ Singleton Hall Dedication Set, October 11 1976. Commercial Appeal [7]
  16. ^ Naval Air Station to rename entrance for Vietnam hero Walter Singleton, March 28, 1992. Commercial Appeal [8]
  17. ^ Bartlett, Singleton Community Center [9]
General
 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Marine Corps.
  • "Sergeant Walter K. Singleton, USMC". Who's Who in Marine Corps History. History Division, United States Marine Corps. Retrieved 2008-05-23.
  • "Sgt Walter K. Singleton, Medal of Honor, 1967, 1/9/3, Vietnam (Medal of Honor citation)". Marines Awarded the Medal of Honor. United States Marine Corps. Archived from the original on 2007-02-21. Retrieved 2006-07-03.

External links[edit]