5 Medal Of Honor Recipients Who Helped Turn The Tide Of Vietnam's Brutal Battle Of Hue City

History
Marines drag casualty from street fighting for control of southern bridge, head across street to an ambulance in Hue, Vietnam, Feb. 4, 1968. (Associated Press)

At the end of January in 1968, the Viet Cong launched an offensive that turned the tide of the Vietnam War.

The Tet Offensive began on January 30 as the North Vietnamese occupied the city of Hue. U.S. Marines spent nearly a month fighting a brutal urban battle to retake the city — which was 80% destroyed by the battle's end, according to H.D.S. Greenway, a photographer embedded with the Marines during the war.

An estimated 1,800 Americans lost their lives during the battle.

But in the midst of the chaos, five men who faced harrowing circumstances risked their lives to save those of their comrades — and earned the nation's highest award for courage in combat, the Medal of Honor.


During one of the ceremonies honoring these heroes, President Richard Nixon remarked on the incredible risks they took.

"They are men who faced death, and instead of losing courage they gave courage to the men around them," he said.

Gunnery Sergeant John L. Canley received his award over 50 years after carrying wounded Marines to safety

Gunnery Sgt. John Canley, suffering from shrapnel wounds, led his men in the destruction of enemy-occupied buildings in Hue City.

When his men were injured, he leapt over a wall in plain sight — twice — to carry them to safe positions.

He was awarded the Medal of Honor in October 2018, over 50 years after he risked his life for his men.

Read the award citation here.

Chief Warrant Officer Frederick Ferguson flew his helicopter through a barrage of anti-aircraft fire to rescue wounded comrades

Medal of Honor recipient Chief Warrant Officer Frederick Ferguson shakes hands with President Richard Nixon after receiving his award in May 1969. (Richard Nixon Library/YouTube)

Chief Warrant Officer Frederick Ferguson ignored numerous calls to avoid the airspace surrounding Hue City during the early days of the battle.

He flew his helicopter through enemy fire, guiding the damaged aircraft so he could rescue wounded comrades and fly them back to safety.

His bravery saved the lives of five wounded soldiers.

Read the award citation here.

Sergeant Alfredo Gonzalez exposed himself to enemy fire to save his comrades

A photo shows Sgt. Alfredo Gonzalez with Gunnery Sgt. John Canley during the Vietnam War. Both have earned the Medal of Honor for actions taken during the brutal Battle of Hue City. (U.S. Marine Corps/Cpl. Tessa Watts0

Sgt. Gonzalez and his unit were among the first to deploy into the Viet Cong-occupied Hue City.

Through five days of fighting, Gonzalez repeatedly exposed himself to direct enemy fire, leading his men despite his personal wounds.

Although he died during the battle, his actions ensured his comrades' survival.

Read the award citation here.

Sergeant Joe Hooper is described as the most decorated soldier of the Vietnam War

Medal of Honor recipient Joe Hooper listens as his citation is read during the award ceremony in March 1969. (National Archives/YouTube)

Sgt. Hooper earned the Medal of Honor on the same day as company mate Staff Sgt. Sims.

Hooper suffered extraordinary wounds as he fought during the Battle of Hue City, during which he destroyed numerous enemy bunkers and raced across open fields under intense fire to save a wounded comrade.

Read his full award citation here.

Staff Sergeant Clifford Sims, once an orphan, flung himself on top of an explosive device to save his platoon

Mary Sims accepts the Medal of Honor on behalf of her husband, Staff Sergeant Clifford Sims, who died during the Battle of Hue City. (National Archives)

During an intense search-and-rescue mission, Staff Sgt. Sims heard the click of a booby trap as his platoon approached a bunker.

Shouting for his team to stay back, Sims jumped on top of the device to absorb the explosion.

Read the full award citation here.

Read more at Business Insider

:51 years ago, Vietnamese forces launched the Tet Offensive and changed how America saw the Vietnam War

SEE ALSO: 21 Of The Most Epic Combat Beatdowns From U.S. Military History

WATCH NEXT: Medal Of Honor Recipient Flo Groberg On The Civil-Military Divide

Riley Howell

Riley Howell, the Army ROTC cadet shot and killed while restraining an active shooter at UNC Charlotte on April 30, was posthumously awarded the ROTC Medal of Heroism earlier this month for his heroic sacrifice, the Army announced.

Read More Show Less
The scene of Monday's plane crash in North Carolina. (North Carolina Department of Transportation/Susan Kinner)

A military plane crashed in North Carolina on Monday, according to the Marine Corps.

The pilot safely ejected before the crash in Craven County, and no deaths have been reported, according to a Facebook post from the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing.

Read More Show Less

A U.S. Army National Guardsman convicted of murder in the 2010 fatal shooting of an Afghan man was released Monday morning from a military prison at Fort Leavenworth.

As a white van carried Sgt. Derrick Miller to a parking lot at the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks, the guardsman's mother, Renee Myers, held an American flag and excitedly said: "Ah, my baby."

"Hey, mom," Miller said as he stepped out of the van after eight years in military prison. He rubbed her back as the two embraced.

Miller's release comes as President Donald Trump is said to be considering pardons for several military members accused or convicted of war crimes, The New York Times reported Saturday.

Read More Show Less
The Hays Country Sheriff's Department in Texas (YouTube screenshot)

Five U.S. Navy sailors have been charged with aggravated sexual assault in connection with a rape reported in Hays County, Texas last year.

Read More Show Less
U.S. Marine Corps Veterans salute during the 5th Marines Vietnam War Memorial unveiling ceremony in the Camp San Mateo Memorial Garden at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., May 28, 2018. (U.S. Marine Corps/Lance Cpl. Rhita Daniel)

California's high cost of living makes it a difficult place for retired military service members to settle down, according to an annual report by financial services website WalletHub.

California — home to the largest number of active-duty troops in the nation — fares poorly in the survey when it comes to affordable housing, homelessness and the proportion of of businesses in the state that are owned by veterans.

Read More Show Less