PFC LESLIE A BELLRICHARD
Company C, 1st Battalion, 8th Infantry
Kontum Province RVN
20 May 1967
As Fireteam Leader, it was PFC Bellrichard’s
responsibility to command a 5-man firing position on the outer perimeter. Without warning, the enemy initiated an attack starting with a 30-minute mortar barrage, followed by a massive ground attack from the jungle with a large element of infantry.
The swiftly advancing enemy was a few yards from Bellrichard’s position when he sprung out charging toward a group of enemy soldiers, tossing hand grenades and firing his M-16 killing several, while forcing the remainder to withdraw.
The enemy regrouped and mounted a second assault, again prefaced by a mortar and rocket bombardment, followed by an infantry charge. PFC. Bellrichard responded by throwing hand grenades at the onrushing attackers.
As he was about to toss a grenade, a mortar round exploded just in front of him, throwing him to the ground and causing him to lose his grip on the grenade.
Pfc. Bellrichard had just about 5 seconds to decide what to do; he needed way less time to make the decision. He rolled on top of the grenade and pulled it to his body shielding his brothers from the blast.
Although literally blown almost in half, Pfc. Bellrichard struggled into an upright position and continued to engage the enemy with his rifle enemy until he bled out and succumbed to his wounds.