Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Financial Crime
Saturday, July 9, 2022
FIFTY FIVE YEARS AFTER THE TET OFFENSIVE IN VIETNAM, A SOLDIER FROM MY OLD UNIT RECEIVES THE MEDAL OF HONOR FROM PRESIDENT BIDEN
Jan. 31, 1968 | Republic of Vietnam
THE 25TH INFANTRY DIVISION
Spc. 5 Dwight W. Birdwell distinguished himself by acts of gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty while serving with Troop C, 3rd Squadron, 4th Cavalry, 25th Infantry Division, in the Republic of Vietnam on Jan. 31, 1968.
On this date, a large enemy element initiated an assault on the Tan Son Nhut Airbase near Saigon. Birdwell’s unit bore the brunt of the initial attack, which resulted in the disabling or destruction of many of the unit’s vehicles and the incapacitation of his tank commander.
Birdwell, under heavy enemy small-arms fire, moved the tank commander to a place of safety and assumed control of the vehicle. Realizing his tank was the first line of defense for the troop, he used its cannon, machine gun and his rifle to place effective fire on the enemy force.
From the exposed position of the tank commander’s hatch, Birdwell engaged the enemy with machine gun fire and provided situation reports to his squadron commander until the communications system became damaged due to enemy fire. After having expended all of his ammunition, Birdwell dismounted and maneuvered to his squadron commander’s helicopter, which had been downed by enemy fire, and retrieved two machine guns and ammunition, with which he and a comrade suppressed the enemy.
When his machine gun was hit by enemy fire and exploded, resulting in wounds to his face and torso, Birdwell refused evacuation and moved amongst the disabled vehicles and defensive positions, collecting ammunition to distribute to the remaining defenders. While under harassing fire, Birdwell led a small group of defenders past the enemy force and personally engaged the enemy with hand grenades, which disrupted their assault until reinforcements arrived. Upon receiving reinforcement, Birdwell aided in evacuating the wounded until he was ordered to seek attention for his wounds.
Throughout the entire engagement, Birdwell repeatedly placed himself in extreme danger to protect his team and to defeat the enemy. His extraordinary heroism and selflessness beyond the call of duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit and the United States Army.