Harold Bascom Durham, Jr

Second Lieutenant
Army of the United States
12 October 1942 - 17 October 1967
Tifton, Georgia
Panel 28E Line 020

Medal of Honor

Bronze Star (2 awards), Purple Heart, Air Medal, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign
Harold B Durham

The database page for Harold Bascom Durham, Jr

1 Jan 2001




Steven Baldree

Harold B Durham
Photo courtesy of Joseph Platosz

The President of the United States
in the name of the Congress of the United States
takes pride in presenting the


posthumously to

Second Lieutenant
United States Army

for service as set forth in the following


2LT Durham, Artillery, distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the cost of his life above and beyond the call of duty while assigned to Battery C, 6th Battalion, 15th Artillery. 2LT Durham was serving as a forward observer with Company D, 2d Battalion, 28th Infantry during a battalion reconnaissance-in-force mission. At approximately 1015 hours contact was made with an enemy force concealed in well-camouflaged positions and fortified bunkers. 2LT Durham immediately moved into an exposed position to adjust the supporting artillery fire onto the insurgents. During a brief lull in the battle he administered emergency first aid to the wounded in spite of heavy enemy sniper fire directed toward him. Moments later, as enemy units assaulted friendly positions, he learned that Company A, bearing the brunt of the attack, had lost its forward observer. While he was moving to replace the wounded observer, the enemy detonated a Claymore mine, severely wounding him in the head and impairing his vision. In spite of the intense pain, he continued to direct the supporting artillery fire and to employ his individual weapon in support of the hard pressed infantrymen. As the enemy pressed their attack, 2LT Durham called for supporting fire to be placed almost directly on his position. Twice the insurgents were driven back, leaving many dead and wounded behind. 2LT Durham was then taken to a secondary defensive position. Even in his extremely weakened condition, he continued to call artillery fire onto the enemy. He refused to seek cover and instead positioned himself in a small clearing which offered a better vantage point from which to adjust the fire. Suddenly, he was severely wounded a second time by enemy machinegun fire. As he lay on the ground near death, he saw two Viet Cong approaching, shooting the defenseless wounded men. With his last effort, 2LT Durham shouted a warning to a nearby soldier who immediately killed the insurgents. 2LT Durham died moments later, still grasping the radio handset. 2LT Durham's gallant actions in close combat with an enemy force are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the U.S. Army.

04 Sep 2003

This is a very impressive web site and I compliment the webmaster. This site and the VVMF site have both done an impressive job of paying honor and reverance to these great Americans who paid the ultimate price so that America could remain strong. They did what their country asked. Sadly ... nobody "won". For those of us who lost loved ones, probably on both sides, we will remain proud though our pain will never leave us.

God bless you, little brother. Your friends who survived because of yours and your fellow soldiers desperate effort that fateful day continue to praise your actions some 36 years after the fact. You will always be a BLACK LION...

Your brother, Johnny

17 Oct 2005

"Nothing is worth more than this day"
Time is fleeting, life is short.
Don't let anything stand between you and someone close to you.

My daughter's friend lost her father today ... bet she didn't expect her day to start that way... Value relationships more, they are that important.

From his nephew,
Mark S. Durham

16 Feb 2006

Pinky was a classmate of mine in OCS, Arty Class 1-67. After that we both went to Fort Carson before deploying to Vietnam. He was a jovial and helpful kind of guy, always there when needed, and due to no money in those days we all needed each other at times. We partied together, worked together, and all in all lived as fun a life as possible.

I think of him a lot, and wonder what the world lost on that fateful day, a question we will never have an answer to ... but rest assured he will NOT be forgotten.

From a friend and classmate,
Roger H Dent

12 Jul 2006

We have attended programs and participated in one in Pinky's memory. Although we did not know him, after the highway dedication in Tifton, in his name and memory, we felt that we did, indeed, "know" him. The people who had known him during his youth and growing up years, spoke of him in such a loving manner that they brought him to our awareness so vividly. He was loved by so many and he is remembered by so many more now.

"Pinky", thank you for your service to our country. Heroes like you have made these United States of America such a blessed country. God Bless America.

Elizabeth A. Miller

10 Nov 2006

You hope when the time comes that courage will overcome fear ... Harold Durham was one of those very special individuals who went above and beyond the call of duty. We will always have our freedom as long as there are those willing to sacifice their all for God and country !

From a fellow vet, 2-deuce mortars, 2nd Bn, 2nd Inf, 1st Inf Div 67-68,
Rob Shick

A Note from The Virtual Wall

The 2nd Battalion, 28th Infantry had been operating west of the village of Chon Thanh since October 8th, conducting "search and destroy" operations in an area known to be occupied by large Viet Cong forces. Only four of the battalion's five companies (HHC, A, B, and D) were involved; C Company was providing fire base security for the supporting artillery unit.

On the morning of 17 October, Alpha Company led out from the night defensive perimeter on a recon-in-force with the battalion command group in company and Delta Company in trail. Around noontime Alpha was engaged by a very much larger enemy force and Delta Company deployed in support. By the time the remaining forces could deploy in support of the engaged troops, the battalion command group and both Alpha and Delta had sustained very heavy casualties. Charlie Company was air-lifted in to assist Bravo and HHC and by late afternoon the area was secured as the VC forces withdrew.

The fighting on 17 October resulted in 55 men killed in action, 3 who later died of their wounds, two missing in action, and 75 or more wounded. All 65 men in Alpha Company had been killed or wounded, Delta Company was little better off, and the Battalion Commander and his command group were dead.

The Virtual Wall's Ong Thanh memorial summarizes the action and lists the dead. The artillery Forward Observer, 2nd Lt Harold Durham, received a posthumous Medal of Honor for his actions. The 15th Arty's memorial memorial includes a newspaper article which gives another account of the battle.

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
his brother,
John P Durham

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 01 Jan 2001
Last updated 12/07/2006