SP/4 MICHAEL JOHN FITZMAURICE
Troop D, 2d Squadron
17th Cavalry, 101st Airborne Division
Khe Sanh, RVN
23 March 1971
SP/4 Fitzmaurice and 3 fellow Paratroopers were holding their position in a bunker when enemy Sappers infiltrating the area with explosive charges led a company sized enemy assault. When the enemy chucked 3 satchel charges into the American bunker, Fitzmaurice grabbed two of the charges and hurled them back toward the enemy.
He then threw his flak vest and himself over the remaining charge absorbing the entire blast, shielding his men.
This apparently pissed the young paratrooper off, in Spite of multiple serious wounds and partial loss of sight, Fitzmaurice charged out of the bunker, and engaged the enemy until his rifle was damaged by the blast of an enemy hand grenade.
Unarmed, SP/4 Fitzmaurice encountered and overcame an enemy sapper in hand-to-hand combat. Taking his weapon, Fitzmaurice he returned to his original fighting position and inflicted additional casualties on the attacking enemy.
SP/4 Fitzmaurice refused to be medically evacuated, demanding to remain at his post. SP/4 Fitzmaurice’s extraordinary heroism in action at the risk of his life contributed significantly to the successful defense of the position and resulted in saving the lives of a number of his fellow soldiers.
SP/4 Fitzmaurice survived the battle and was evacuated to a field hospital.
As of this posting he is alive and well enjoying is retirement.