PSG BRUCE A. GRANDSTAFF
Co B, 1st Bn, 8th ID
Pleiku Province, RVN
18 May 1967
As PSG Grandstaff led Weapons Platoon on a reconnaissance mission near the Cambodian border, they began taking enemy fire, which swiftly grew to a 3-sided ambush. Grandstaff formed his men into a defensive perimeter and engaged the enemy.
As the battle raged, PSG Grandstaff realized several of his men wounded and stranded forward of the defensive line. He rushed the 30 meters forward through intense enemy fire. In spite of his best efforts, he could save only one.
When it became clear that the platoon was pinned down with no way out, Grandstaff called for “Red Legs,” then put himself in an exposed position to act as Forward Observer walking rounds in to within 45 meters of his own position.
Fortunately, a flight of Cavalry Snakes heard the frantic call for “Red Legs,” and dropped by with some Cobra Gunships to lend a hand. At the welcomed sight of Gunships, PSG. Grandstaff crawled outside the defensive position to mark the location with smoke grenades and direct gunship fire.
When his first marker grenade rolled out of the target area, Grandstaff crawled to another location and threw his last smoke grenade. The smoke was restricted by the jungle canopy, making it invisible to the gunships. Without a marker, they might put rounds on the Americans.
Although severely wounded in the leg during the effort to put out markers, Grandstaff refused medical aid and returned to his radio. He made another call for “Red Legs,” then again moved to an open position to direct the artillery fire progressively closer to his own position.
The situation was swiftly becoming untenable, Grandstaff needed firepower, and knew ammunition would be running short. The young Platoon Sargeant saw no other solution, so he crawled out int the jungle and fired several magazines of tracers. He hoped that the Gunships would see the tracers and be able to identify the enemy positions.
He succeeded in designating the location to the gunships, who then poured mini-gun and rocket fire ion the enemy positions. Grandstaff was so close to the enemy that he was wounded a second time, likely by one of the gunships. Despite his intense pain and blood loss, Grandstaff crawled to an enemy bunker that had survived the attack and destroyed it with hand grenades, killing the gun crew.
PSG. Grandstaff took his 3rd 4th and 5th wounds in the process, yet he rucked-up and kept on moving, rallying his remaining men to withstand the enemy assaults.
Grandstaff held his ground and fought until mortally wounded by an enemy rocket.
Every single soldier in Grandstaff’s platoon was a casualty, and every single one of the soldiers who survived the battle attested to the exceptional courage of this outstanding combat leader who inspired his men to fight courageously against overwhelming odds and cost the enemy heavy casualties.