1SG DAVID H. McNERNEY
A CO. 1st Bn, 8th Inf. 4th ID
Polei Doc, RVN
22 March 1967
1SG McNerney’s unit came under attack by a North Vietnamese Army battalion at Polei Doc, RVN.
1SG McNerney ran forward through a hail of enemy fire to join his men at the point of heaviest contact. He established a defensive perimeter and encountered and killed several enemy soldiers, at close range before he was blown off his feet and seriously wounded by a grenade.
In spite of his wounds, he attacked and destroyed an enemy machinegun position that had 5 of his men pinned down.
The 1SG was told that his commander had been killed and he assumed command then went forward to spot for artillery. He adjusted artillery fire to within 20 meters of his own position to repulse the enemy assaults.
When his smoke grenades, used to mark the position were depleted, he moved into a nearby clearing to mark the location for U.S. Air assets. In spite of being exposed to enemy fire, he remained exposed until he was certain the position was spotted and then climbed into a tree and tied the identification panel to its highest branches. Letting Medivac and exfil pilots identify the LZ.
McNerney began clearing a helicopter landing site to evacuate the wounded. He needed explosives and Det. Cord, to take trees down so the choppers could land. He had none so he low crawled forward into enemy-held territory to recover explosives from rucksacks abandoned in the retreat.
Explosives were needed to remove large trees, he crawled outside the relative safety of his perimeter to collect demolition material from abandoned rucksacks.
Disregarding the pain of his injury and refusing medical evacuation 1st Sgt. McNerney remained with his unit until the next day when the new commander arrived.
McNerney retired from the Army in 1969 and diagnosed with untreatable lung cancer in the spring of 2010, He entered hospice care in early October 2010 and died only a week later, on October 10, 2010.
Top McNerney’s last wishes were to return his medal of honor to his men.
Surviving members of A co. delivered the medal to the 4th Infantry Division on October 6, 2011, where it is currently on display in the Mountain Post Historical Center at Fort Carson, Colorado. – “Patriae Fidelitas”