1Lt JAMES A. GARDNER
HHC, 1st Bn (Airborne),
327th Infantry, 1st Bde, 101st Airborne
My Canh, RVN
7 February 1966
1st Lt. Gardner’s platoon was moving forward to support a company from 1st Bn who had been pinned down for several hours by a numerically superior enemy force was occupying the village of My Canh.
A series of expertly concealed, hardened enemy bunker positions commanded the field pinning down the American platoon.
Enemy integrated fields of fire covered all approaches to the village with heavy machineguns. Mortars and RPGs preventing a Quick Reaction Force form relieving the pinned down platoon. Air strikes and artillery had little to no effect on the enemy’s hardened bunker complex.
There was no other option but to counter attack and rescue the pinned down Americans. 1st Lt. Gardner’s platoon intended to encircle the enemy positions that were encircling the American platoon and destroy them.
The enemy anticipated the move and responded with devastating fire. 1Lt Gardener lead the attack and ins. Even as it moved to begin the attack, disregarding his own safety, 1st Lt. Gardner charged through a withering hail of fire across an open rice paddy.
He destroyed it with a grenade, then sprinted to the second bunker. After destroying the bunker with a hand grenade, then crawled along the dike of a rice paddy to the third bunker. As he was preparing to toss a grenade into the gun port, the enemy gunner jumped out and fired his AK-47 at Gardener. The young Lt. dispatched the enemy gunner with his rifle.
Once the main gun position was destroyed, Gardener reorganized the platoon and lead them in another counter attack. Gardner collected as many grenades as he could carry and charged the enemy position firing his rifle as he advanced. He chucked a dropped a grenade into the next bunker at close range then vaulted over the top as it detonated. He rolled into a ditch to gain cover, then moved toward the newly discovered enemy position. As he approached, Gardener sprang from the ditch with a grenade in one hand and firing his rifle with the other. Although he was mortally wounded as he reached the bunker complex, 1Lt Gardener staggered forward continuing to advance on his enemy to the very end, he fell forward as he died, managing to toss a grenade into the bunker destroying it.
His lifeless body was found on the rim of the bunker when his men caught up.