Milton Lee Olive, III

Private First Class
Army of the United States
07 November 1946 - 22 October 1965
Chicago, Illinois
Panel 02E Line 131

Medal of Honor

Combat Infantry

Purple Heart, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

Milton L. Olive

The database page for Milton Lee Olive, III

04 Aug 2004

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


posthumously to

Milton Lee Olive, III
Private First Class
United States Army

for service as set forth in the following


For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Pfc. Olive was a member of the 3d Platoon of Company B, as it moved through the jungle to find the Viet Cong operating in the area. Although the platoon was subjected to a heavy volume of enemy gunfire and pinned down temporarily, it retaliated by assaulting the Viet Cong positions, causing the enemy to flee. As the platoon pursued the insurgents, Pfc. Olive and 4 other soldiers were moving through the jungle together when a grenade was thrown into their midst. Pfc. Olive saw the grenade, and then saved the lives of his fellow soldiers at the sacrifice of his own by grabbing the grenade in his hand and falling on it to absorb the blast with his body. Through his bravery, unhesitating actions, and complete disregard for his safety, he prevented additional loss of life or injury to the members of his platoon. Pfc. Olive's extraordinary heroism, at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty are in the highest traditions of the U.S. Army and reflect great credit upon himself and the Armed Forces of his country.


by Harry G. Robinson III
E-mail address is not available.

A Note from The Virtual Wall

B Company, 2/503rd Infantry, lost two men on 22 Oct 1965, PFC Olive and SP4 George G. Luis of Pahoa, Hawaii.

On 21 April 1966, President Lyndon B. Johnson presented the Medal of Honor to Milton L. Olive Jr, saying in part

"The Medal of Honor is awarded for acts of heroism above and beyond the call of duty. It is bestowed for courage demonstrated not in blindly overlooking danger, but in meeting it with eyes clearly open.

"That is what Private Olive did. When the enemy's grenade landed on that jungle trail, it was not merely duty which drove this young man to throw himself upon it, sacrificing his own life that his comrades might continue to live. He was compelled by something that is more than duty, by something greater than a blind reaction to forces that are beyond his control.

"He was compelled, instead, by an instinct of loyalty which the brave always carry into conflict. In that incredibly brief moment of decision in which he decided to die, he put others first and himself last."

PFC Olive was the second of the 173rd Airborne Brigade's ten posthumous Medal of Honor recipients and the first of twenty African-Americans who earned the Medal in Vietnam - 16 of them posthumously. His fellow Chicagoans have further commemorated his life and courage by naming a junior college, a park, and a portion of the McCormick Place Convention Center after him.

Milton L. Olive III was born near Ebenezer, Holmes County, Mississippi, and is buried in the West Grove Baptist Church Cemetery, Lexington, Mississippi.

Photo by Don Morfe
Taken from

Further information is available on Niel Michalov's
Medal of Honor site

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Channing Prothro, former CAP Marine
Last updated 12/28/2010