Stories of Valor
The Medal of Honor, Six Stories of Incredible Valor
By: Jaeson Parsons
Corporal Thomas W. Bennett – Morgantown, WV
Combat Medic – Army
Heroic Activity: 2/9/69 – 2/11/69
“The year was 1969, and Corporal Bennett found himself in Vietnam as the platoon medic for 2nd Platoon, Bravo Company, 1st Battalion of the 14th Infantry – a truly strange place to find a conscientious objector in the late 60’s, as Bennett was deeply religious and completely against killing. Even though he was against the war, he wanted to serve his country and help his fellow citizens. This desire had led him to sign up as an Army combat medic and leave his hometown of Morgantown to head off to war.
On the 9th of February, Bennett’s platoon was moving to assist their fellow soldiers from Delta Company, which had run into an ambush by the enemy and was under intense fire from every weapon known to man. On arriving at the fire-fight, the three point-men in Bennett’s platoon fell wounded from small arms fire. Immediately springing into action, Doc Bennett ran through a barrage of incoming fire to assist his brothers, giving them life-saving aid as the enemy did all they could to take him out.
Throughout the rest of the day and into the night, Bennett moved all over the battlefield, from one soldier to the next, treating the wounded and providing comfort in the form of much needed morphine. He even dragged the bodies of the fallen soldiers to safety, adhering to the military vow, “Never Leave a Fallen Comrade.”
On the 11th, Bravo Company again moved to assault the enemy, who was dug into a well-fortified position, and fire rained down on them from an enemy with far superior numbers. Immediately, five members of the assault team fell wounded, and Doc hustled to their aid, disregarding the heavy fire falling all around him. He treated one of the wounded, then became aware of another far more seriously wounded man and attended to his aid, his position on the battlefield far forward of friendly forces. His fellow soldiers then stopped Bennett and told him it was suicide, that he couldn’t help that soldier. Doc was hearing none of this and leapt forward, with complete disregard for his own safety, to save his brother-in-arms. During this attempt, Bennett was mortally wounded.
For these incredible, selfless acts of heroism and for saving the lives of a dozen men, Corporal Thomas “Doc” Bennett was awarded, posthumously, the Congressional Medal of Honor.
Corpsman 3rd Class Wayne Caron – Middleboro, MA
Hospital Corpsman – Navy
Heroic Activity: 7/28/68
The Marines don’t have medical personnel, so they grab them from the Navy and make them their own in a way fitting to the Marines’ storied history. Hospital Corpsman are tough as nails, they are that way because there is no other way. This is the story of one of those hard-as-steel Corpsmen.
On the 28th of July, Caron and his platoon, the men of 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment of the 1st Division, were doing a sweep of a rice field when all hell broke loose. Before they could call the direction of incoming fire, two Marines fell wounded and Doc Caron jumped into action. He braved enemy fire to get to the Marines’ side, but they were dead before they hit the ground.
The battle continued to rage and the Marines were taking heavy casualties. Over the deafening sounds of battle, Doc could hear the voices of his friends, “Doc! Corpsman!” and it spurred him on. Moving forward to their positions, Caron was struck in the arm – the blood flowing, the pain intense – and he was knocked to the ground. Regaining his feet, Doc forced his way through the pain and continued towards the first voice. The Marine, grievously wounded, lay under his hands as Caron rendered aid. Doc stabilized him, and then was moving towards the next fallen man when he was shot again, this time in the leg.
Nonetheless, Doc shuffled forward, crawling the remaining distance, and treated the wounded Marine. Still more cries echoing out, “Doc! Help Me!” so Caron crawled further still and, for the third time, was shot by enemy small-arms fire. Courageously and with iron-clad determination, Doc struggled towards another wounded man. The rocket round screeched in before anyone could warn Doc, then exploded and took the life of this hero.
Because of his steadfast determination, valor, and extraordinary dedication to his fellow Marines, Wayne “Doc” Caron was awarded, posthumously, the Congressional Medal of Honor.
Specialist Donald Evans, Jr. – Covina, CA
Combat Medic – Army
Heroic Activity: 1/27/67
Assigned out of Covina, California, to the 4th Infantry Division, 12th Regiment, 2nd Battalion, Alpha Company, Specialist Evans found himself engaged in one helluva fire-fight in Tri Tam, Vietnam, in the winter of 1967. While some of Evans’ friends were heading back to college after winter break, Evans and his Company were pinned down, dug into a position, and steel rain was pouring in from seemingly all over. Wounded men littered the field ahead of them, many of them screaming for aid, “Medic!” Evans, dashing over 100 meters through a wide-open field through a withering hail of bullets and exploding grenades, found his first patient and began his life-saving aid. He then moved to the next wounded soldiers, all while fully exposed to enemy fire.
After realizing that the wounds of one of the casualties needed immediate attention, Evans dragged the soldier to safety, back across the bullets and grenades. Over the same 100 meters of open field, Doc hauled this man to a place behind the lines to be evacuated by chopper.
Miraculously escaping the wall of lead, Evans knew that he needed to return and assist the others, so he went back to the forward position and began treating the wounded. A blast of hot, supersonic metal then pelted Doc’s body, but he succeeded in evacuating yet another wounded soldier. Refusing to treat his own wounds, Evans continued his mission to brave the open field and drag his friends back to safety. It was during his fourth trip that he was severely wounded.
Upon returning yet again with another seriously wounded man, his body riddled with holes and shrapnel, Doc started out again, ignoring the pleas to remain behind. Disregarding his extremely painful injuries and seriously weakened from losing most of his blood, Evans continued his life-saving medical aid to those soldiers pinned down by enemy fire and was killed treating his brothers-in-arms.
For these feats of human dedication and determination in the face of certain death, Specialist Donald “Doc” Evans, Jr. was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.” By: Jaeson Parsons