We are coming near to the end of our 50-state tour of Medal of Honor recipients, and we have learned about so many heroes from so many backgrounds, who all rose to the call of duty and to leadership under fire. This week’s hero Bruce A. Grandstaff was on a recon mission near the Cambodian border we the enemy unleashed a vicious attack on his platoon. Rushing to provide first aid, calling in artillery support and rallying his men Grandstaff was a truly great combat hero.
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Bruce A. Grandstaff
Date of birth: June 2, 1934 Date of death: May 18, 1967 Burial location: Spokane, Washington Place of Birth: Washington, Spokane Home of record: Spokane Washington Status: KIA
Action Date: 18-May-67 Service: Army Rank: Platoon Sergeant Company: Company B Battalion: 1st Battalion Regiment: 8th Infantry Regiment Division: 4th Infantry Division
Citation: The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pride in presenting the Medal of Honor (Posthumously) to Platoon Sergeant Bruce Alan Grandstaff (ASN: RA-56240242), United States Army, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving with the 1st Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division, in action against enemy aggressor forces in Pleiku Province, Republic of Vietnam, on 18 May 1967. Platoon Sergeant Grandstaff distinguished himself while leading the Weapons Platoon, Company B, on a reconnaissance mission near the Cambodian border. His platoon was advancing through intermittent enemy contact when it was struck by heavy small arms and automatic weapons fire from three sides. As he established a defensive perimeter, Platoon Sergeant Grandstaff noted that several of his men had been struck down. He raced 30 meters through the intense fire to aid them but could only save one. Denied freedom to maneuver his unit by the intensity of the enemy onslaught, he adjusted artillery to within 45 meters of his position. When helicopter gunships arrived, he crawled outside the defensive position to mark the location with smoke grenades. Realizing his first marker was probably ineffective, he crawled to another location and threw his last smoke grenade but the smoke did not penetrate the jungle foliage. Seriously wounded in the leg during this effort he returned to his radio and, refusing medical aid, adjusted the artillery even closer as the enemy advanced on his position. Recognizing the need for additional firepower, he again braved the enemy fusillade, crawled to the edge of his position and fired several magazines of tracer ammunition through the jungle canopy. He succeeded in designating the location to the gunships but this action again drew the enemy fire and he was wounded in the other leg. Now enduring intense pain and bleeding profusely, he crawled to within ten meters of an enemy machinegun which had caused many casualties among his men. He destroyed the position with hand grenades but received additional wounds. Rallying his remaining men to withstand the enemy assaults, he realized his position was being overrun and asked for artillery directly on his location. He fought until mortally wounded by an enemy rocket. Although every man in the platoon was a casualty, survivors attest to the indomitable spirit and exceptional courage of this outstanding combat leader who inspired his men to fight courageously against overwhelming odds and cost the enemy heavy casualties. Platoon Sergeant Grandstaff’s selfless gallantry, above and beyond the call of duty, are in the highest traditions of the U.S. Army and reflect great credit upon himself and the Armed Forces of his country. General Orders: Department of the Army, General Orders No. 52 (August 8, 1967)