13 May 2002
Joseph Guy LaPointe, Jr.,
Conscientious Objector and Combat Medic,
recipient of the Medal of Honor and Silver Star Medal,
was killed in action 2 June 1969
on Hill 376 in the Republic of Vietnam.
He is remembered by his brothers in
B Troop, 2/17 Cav
DAYS FOR GUY
May 1968, Ft Sam Houston, Texas
by Frank B. Smith
You held hands with Kansas City for too long,
And the Cumberland in summer breathed through your lungs to make Ohio your skin - so much that
When the government papers came, confining you to Texas and the Army
your eyes wanted Dayton so much that they couldn't cry.
Still you sang.
You said Canada was foreign to you, and Nova Scotia ran autumn in your veins.
You wouldn't turn North to Freedom.
27 August 1968, Three-day Pass
Leaving San Antonio we rode north to Dallas and on that road,
Drinking wine, you named the birds, the plants, the small animals for me - I listened as you read the land
And when you sang, it was the same: your gentle love
Sang in your voice and strumming hands.
Later, when you called all the way from Dallas to your pregnant wife
Your eyes were gone to Dayton in Ohio, watching her grow.
You were too innocent for honesty.
4 November 1968, Oakland Army Depot
Beyond the green warehouse the politician's words that kill
and flag that flies an unkept promise brushed on your skin.
The touch was lost.
America was not theirs, it was not there.
We followed the taped red line and left our baggage in the dark.
November 1968, San Francisco AWOL
In that stolen time we stood on Ocean Beach while you taught me other songs to sing,
Saying your wouldn't mind the coming year - next fall would be here soon.
I didn't want to take you from that place where you stood throwing stones at the sky,
But words were raging from the capitals of the world and the killing time was coming.
12 November 1968, Bien Hoa, RVN
Leaning on the sandbags that cased the wooden and wire-screen hooch
beside the bomber's locking radar station, we read each other's orders, smoking.
They were all words and numbers then, and we spoke only of memories.
I copied your address and lost it.
2 June 1969, Hue, RVN
I watched the wide river from my bunker top while the PRC-25 stoned my radio ears
Telling me in static rasps that a dying time was near - I thought it was my own.
Tomorrow we would relieve the Second of the Seventeenth Cavalry.
It was all words and numbers.
October 1969, America
In Kansas, the wheat and corn have been harvested, shipped and sold,
The wild geese are escaped south and soon the snows will cover the Dakotas and Wyoming.
I want to hear you sing this winter coming on.
The sun burns southward.
Voices stall through the capitals and fade in the air -
But in America, who is left to name those small animals moving through the snow,
Or tell the histories of each brittle weed standing frozen in the wind?
Joseph Guy LaPointe, Jr|
Army Of The United States
Medal of Honor
Rank and organization:
Specialist Fourth Class, U.S. Army
Place and date:
2d Squadron, 17th Cavalry, 101st Airborne Division
Quang Tin Province, Republic of Vietnam, 2 June 1969
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. SP4 La Pointe, Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 2d Squadron, distinguished himself while serving as a medical aidman during a combat helicopter assault mission. SP4 La Pointe's patrol was advancing from the landing zone through an adjoining valley when it suddenly encountered heavy automatic weapons fire from a large enemy force entrenched in well fortified bunker positions. In the initial hail of fire, 2 soldiers in the formation vanguard were seriously wounded. Hearing a call for aid from 1 of the wounded, SP4 La Pointe ran forward through heavy fire to assist his fallen comrades. To reach the wounded men, he was forced to crawl directly in view of an enemy bunker. As members of his unit attempted to provide covering fire, he administered first aid to 1 man, shielding the other with his body. He was hit by a burst of fire from the bunker while attending the wounded soldier. In spite of his painful wounds, SP4 La Pointe continued his lifesaving duties until he was again wounded and knocked to the ground. Making strenuous efforts, he moved back again into a shielding position to continue administering first aid. An exploding enemy grenade mortally wounded all 3 men. SP4 La Pointe's courageous actions at the cost of his life were an inspiration to his comrades. His gallantry and selflessness are in the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit on him, his unit, and the U. S. Army.
DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY|
Headquarters 101st Airborne Division
APO San Francisco 96383
21 July 1969
AWARD OF THE SILVER STAR (POSTHUMOUS)
1. TC 320, The following AWARD is announced.
LA POINTE, JOSEPH G. JR., 292465422 SP4
Awarded: The Silver Star (Posthumous)
Troop B 2nd Squadron 17th Cavalry
101st Airborne Division APO San Francisco 96383
Effective month: NA
Date action: 12 April 1969
For gallantry in action while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an armed hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam on 12 April 1969. Specialist La Pointe distinguished himself while serving as a medical aidman on a combat operation in the A Shau Valley, Republic of Vietnam. As Specialist La Pointe's platoon was moving up a hill to set up a night defensive position, the third squad fell behind because of several heat casualties, but before he reached their position, an artillery round impacted near the position of the main body of the platoon. Realizing that there were probably casualties due to the artillery, he rushed to the aid of his fallen comrades. While moving up the hill, three more rounds impacted between him and the platoon. Never pausing to take cover, he ran headlong through the bursting artillery to the aid of the wounded. He treated seventeen casualties, several of which were severe. He was directly instrumental in saving the life of one man and his quick thinking and expert treatment prevented the possible loss of more lives. Specialist La Pointe's personal bravery and devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States army.
Authority: By direction of the President of the United States under provisions of the Act of Congress, approved 25 July 1963.
FOR THE COMMANDER:
M. H. MURLEY
Chief of Staff
DALE H. HAYES
14 Apr 2005
Joseph Guy LaPointe, Jr. was a Medical Aidman with B-Troop 2nd Squadron of the 17th Cavalry, 101st Airborne Division. He was a recipient of the Medal of Honor, the Silver Star, Bronze Star and other awards and medals. We (his family) knew him as "Guy." B-Troop knew him as "Doc."
Guy was born and raised in North Dayton Ohio. While in high school, he volunteered to work at the Aullwood Audubon Center. He cared greatly about the environment and spent much of his time camping, hiking and studying the natural environment. He also believed deeply in civil rights and other social and political issues. After graduating from Northridge High School 25 May 1966, he moved with his family to the Clayton area and worked as a mail carrier for the Englewood Post Office. He wanted to attend college with a biology major and his dream was to work either for the National Park System, the National Audubon Society or the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. At the time he was drafted, he had applied to several colleges.
Guy reported for duty in the US Army on 8 May 1968. He was a conscientious objector and became a medic, taking his advanced training at Ft. Sam Houston in Texas. He was married during the summer of 1968. In November 1968, he was sent to Vietnam. In January 1969, his son, Joe III was born.
From his widow,
01 Jun 2006
We went to Vietnam in 1999 to see where Guy and the others had fallen.
We recorded our trip
From his widow,