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Above & Beyond

These pages are the results of a Medal of Honor research project by Eighth Graders at Sacred Heart Elementary School in Ville Platte, Louisiana.  Each student in the class adopted a Medal of Honor recipient from our Nation's history, researched his life, and then wrote the story you see here.

 Vietnam War (Continued)

Charles C. Hagemeister

Specialist Fifth Class Charles C. Hagemeister was in the Vietnam War.  He received the Medal of Honor on May 14, 1968.  Specialist Hagemeister saved the life of his two comrades while conducting combat operations against enemy forces.  He ran through deadly fire to provide medical attention and words of encouragement to the fallen comrades.  At the end of this combat mission, Hagemeister killed a sniper and three other men who tried to encircle the group.  

Specialist Hagemeister does not consider himself a hero, but I do.  His actions have made the United States of America a proud place in which to live.  It was his actions that have helped to make us free. His conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action, at the risk of his life, above and beyond the call of duty, has made me proud to say he is truly an American hero.


Jack H. Jacobs

Captain Jacobs was serving as Assistant Battalion Advisor, 2nd Battalion, 16th infantry, 9th Infantry Division, Republic of Vietnam.  He earned his Medal of Honor on March 9, 1962, during operations in Kien Phong Province.  This was during the Vietnam War.  

On that day his unit came under strong attack.  He asked for air attacks against the enemy.  He was hit by mortar fragments.  Though bleeding profusely from his wounds, he took over complete control of the unit and reorganized it for its defense and attack.  He also made many trips through the rice patties evacuating the wounded men.  In his evacuations he saved one U.S. Advisor and thirteen allied soldiers.  

I feel he is a true American Hero because he never thought of himself.  He was always there for his fellow soldiers.  He led the men like a true hero.  He risked his life for his country and that makes him a true American Hero.


John L. Levitow

Sergeant John L. Levitow was an Air force man flying a night mission on an AC-47 aircraft during the Vietnam War.  He and his comrades were launching flares for the ground troops in battle.  While they were launching the flares, the plane was hit by a bomb causing a flare to be thrown back into the plane.  Sergeant Levitow had forty fragment wounds in the back of his legs however; he began helping his comrades despite his own injuries.  Sergeant Levitow started toward the burning flare, but he could not grasp it, so he threw his body on the deadly flare.  Struggling to the back of the plane to throw the flare out, Sergeant Levitow had to overcome severe pain and anguish.  When the flare cleared the plane, it separated and ignited.  

Without thinking of any personal danger, he saved himself and his comrades.  In doing so I think he deserved the Medal of Honor very much for his bravery.  I admire Sergeant Levitow greatly because of his ability to do such an extraordinary deed and save lives.


Gary Lee Littrell

Gary Lee Littrell was born October 26, 1944 in Henderson, Kentucky.  He entered the service at Los Angeles, California, when he joined the Army.  He quickly moved up in rank and became a Sergeant First Class on Advisory Team 21, I Corps Advisory Group and was soon stationed in Kontum Province, Republic of Vietnam.

April 8, 1970 it began.  It was only one of many battles of the Vietnam War.  Sergeant Littrell was finally ordered to withdraw his unit, when numerous ambushes were encountered.  Sfc. Littrell repeatedly prevented widespread disorder by directing air strikes to within fifty meters of their position.  Through his indomitable courage and complete disregard for his safety, he averted excessive loss of life and injury to the members of the battalion.  The sustained extraordinary courage and selflessness displayed by Sfc. Littrell over an extended period of time were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service, and reflect great credit on him and the U.S. Army.  

I think Gary Lee Littrell deserved the Congressional Medal of Honor because he went out of his way to save the lives of his friends and teammates.  He put his life on the line for his country and thought of others before himself. 


Gary W. Martini

Gary Martini was a Private First Class, U.S. Marine Corps, Company F.  On April 21, 1967 at Binh Son, Vietnam, Martini’s company came across a firmly entrenched enemy force and immediately deployed to engage them.  The enemy had hand grenades, intense small arms, automatic weapons and mortal fire.  Martini’s marines had 14 killed and 18 wounded while the rest of the platoon was pinned down behind a low paddy dike.  Martini immediately crawled over the dike to an open area where he was exposed to hostile fire and threw hand grenades, killing several of the enemy.  

Crawling back through the hostile fire, he joined his platoon, which had moved to the safety of a trench line.  From this safe position he could see several of his wounded comrades helpless in the paddy.  Even though Martini knew that one man had been killed trying to help the wounded, he raced though the open area and dragged a comrade back to a friendly place.  In spite of a serious wound he got during the first drag, he tried again braving the unrelenting fury of the enemy fire to aid another companion that was wounded and only about 20 meters in front of the enemy trench line.  As Martini reached the fallen marine, he received a mortal wound, but disregarding his own condition, he began to drag the marine toward his platoon’s position.  The men watching from his unit tried to leave security to help him, but in his concern for their safety, he called to them to remain under cover, and through a last super effort, moved his injured comrade to where he could be pulled to safety before he fell from his own wounds.  

Now I understand why we say the pledge everyday.  It is to honor these people who forget about themselves to save lives of men that are fighting for us.  Someone doesn’t come and tell you to join the Marines, you do it on your own.  That is my reason for picking this man as my special recipient.


William T. Perkins

My most inspiring person is William T. Perkins.  He courageously fought in Vietnam as a combat photographer.  On October 12, 1967 he was with three other Marines who were in heavy fighting areas at a helicopter landing zone, which also served as the Command Post of company C.  One of the enemies’ grenades landed next to the four Marines.  With the knowledge that something had to be done soon, Perkins yelled, ”incoming grenade!” and right before it exploded, not thinking of the option that he would die, and trying to save the other Marine’s lives, he threw himself upon the grenade, absorbing the impact of the blast.  He died.  

I chose this courageous man because this kind of sacrifice should be the idea for which America stands.  He had so much pride in his country that he willingly threw himself on a grenade to save the lives of Marines so they could go home to see their families’ faces one more day.  He died so young, he didn’t have a life.  He gave his life for every single person that lives today.  We should respect what this man did.  Most people have no idea that all these wars even happened much less about the Medal of Honor.  I am saying it did happen, and I know the true heroes in life.  His actions are truly ”above and beyond the call of duty”.  I think everyone should know that he is just one of many people who saved us in an extraordinary way and deserves more than just a medal, he deserves everybody’s respect.  

In honor of this man, I will show my true respect.  This is not a famous man.  He is not greatly remembered or talked about in the media, yet this is my tribute to him hoping that it might inspire someone to get these heroes recognized in our mixed up society today.


Alfred Rascon

Alfred Rascon was born in Chihuahua, Mexico, to immigrants who came to the U. S. to provide a better life for their family.  He was not even an U.S. citizen when he joined the Army, but he enlisted to support the country he came to love and consider his homeland.  On March 16, 1966, his platoon was fighting in the Vietnamese jungle when they came under attack.  Rascon ran past bullets to rescue an injured comrade.  He was shot in the hip and suffered many wounds when a grenade exploded in his face.  Despite the wounds, he helped comrades to safety, brought ammunition to a gunner, and then covered two wounded soldiers with his body, taking grenade blasts and saving both of their lives.  Only days after his brave actions, Rascon was recommended for the Medal of Honor, but the paperwork was lost.  It was not until the comrades that he saved petitioned the Pentagon that his medal would be confirmed.  Thirty-four years later, on February 9, 2000, Alfred Rascon of Laurel, Maryland received the Congressional Medal of Honor.  

I believe Alfred Rascon deserved the Medal of Honor because he showed great loyalty to a country he was not a citizen of, and because he unselfishly thought of others before taking caution for his own life.


Clarence Eugene Sasser

Clarence Eugene Sasser served as a medical aid man in the United States Army during the Vietnam War.  His company was making an air assault when it was suddenly taken under heavy small arms, machine gun, and rocket fire from fierce enemy positions on three sides of the landing zone.  In just a few minutes, more than 30 casualties were sustained.  Without hesitation, Sp4c. Sasser ran across an open rice paddy through a hail of fire to assist the many wounded.  Despite many painful wounds and loss of blood, he refused any medical treatment.  He continued to give urgently needed treatment to the injured and persisted in searching for others.  Although his legs were immobilized from two additional wounds, he dragged himself through the mud to bring hundreds of soldiers to safety. There he attended their wounds for five hours until they were evacuated.  

I admire Sp4c. Sasser for his extraordinary courage and heroism.  He completely put aside his own pain to help others in need.  I believe he is a terrific role model for others.  Although he was not a famous actor or well-known basketball player, he is definitely a true American hero. 



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