William David Port
Army of the United States
Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania
October 31, 1941 to November 27, 1968
(Incident Date January 12, 1968)
WILLIAM D PORT is on the Wall at Panel 34E, Line 39

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William D Port
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William D Port


10 Feb 2001

This man was my relative. He threw himself on a grenade to save some fellow soldiers and and survived for around eleven months in a POW camp after it detonated. Although I didn't know him personally, I know his brother, and I'm sure he was quite a man. I feel for their loss because I have a son of my own now and couldn't imagine losing him. I thank him and all of the other Vietnam Vets for their courage and valor. Regardless of how the war is perceived now, they did their part, and stood their ground. Thank you.

A memorial initiated by a cousin who wore his KIA bracelet,
Sheldon Port
PO Box 117, Alexandria, Pa. 16611

Date: Mon, 9 Oct 2000 18:29:32 EDT
From: ddealok@aol.com

Port's body was recovered along with a number of other US POW's. He was divorced, so his children were presented his MoH.

Basically, they got into a minor skirmish. He was slightly wounded in the hand I think and tended to others in his squad who were really injured. Then a grenade landed amongst all of them. Bill immediately shouted a warning and covered it with his body. He lived but was badly hurt which made it worse in the jungle. He saved all of his mates by doing this. He was in agony the whole time, barely talked. Simply critically injured. The Americans tried to help him but to no avail. The gooks did precious little as usual. Eleven months later, he died and was buried in a mass grave with other POWs. He was the last MoH awardee to have his body recovered.


From the POW Network

21 Nov 2003

Yes, Bill's children from his marriage were invited to the ceremony, but his other daughter, Kathy Becker, was not invited by the White House. It didn't sit too well with politicians to have children from two relationships receiving their dad's medal. I just thought that had to be told.

From her brother,
John Becker

06 Feb 2007

William Port was my grandfather, my mom's name is Kathryn Becker. I never knew my grandfather but from the stories I've heard, read and been told he was truly a great man. I know he's passed away and long gone... I tend not to think of what life is without him but what life could have been with him. He's made me appreciate a lot in life. I've learned not to be selfish because in the end that gets you nowhere, and also to give and give until your heart pours out with goodness, and never look back or think twice on the good contributions that you've made in life.

From his granddaughter,
Brooke Mason

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


posthumously to

William David Port
Sergeant (then PFC)
Army of the United States

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. Sergeant Port distinguished himself while serving as a rifleman with Company C, 5th Battalion, 7th Cavalry, which was conducting combat operations against an enemy force in the Que Son Valley. As Sergeant Port's platoon was moving to cut off a reported movement of enemy soldiers, the platoon came under heavy fire from an entrenched enemy force. The platoon was forced to withdraw due to the intensity and ferocity of the fire. Although wounded in the hand as the withdrawal began, Sergeant Port, with complete disregard for his safety, ran through the heavy fire to assist a wounded comrade back to the safety of the platoon perimeter. As the enemy forces assaulted the perimeter, Sergeant Port and 3 comrades were in position behind an embankment when an enemy grenade landed in their midst. Sergeant Port, realizing the danger to his fellow soldiers, shouted the warning, "Grenade," and unhesitatingly hurled himself towards the grenade to shield his comrades from the explosion. Through his exemplary courage and devotion he saved the lives of his fellow soldiers and gave the members of his platoon the inspiration needed to hold their position. Sergeant Port's selfless concern for his comrades, at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty are in keeping with the highest tradition of the military service and reflect great credit on himself, his unit, and the United States Army.

Notes from The Virtual Wall

As noted above, on 12 January 1968 a platoon of C Company, 5/7th Cavalry, was engaged by enemy troops and forced to withdraw pending reinforcements with four men missing. When the C Company troopers returned to the field of battle they recovered three of the men, but could not locate the body of then-PFC William D. Port, who was known to have thrown himself on a hand grenade and who was believed dead. The four men were
  • SSG Benjamin F. McClary, Philadelphia, PA
  • SGT Lee R. Danielson, Cadott, WI
  • SGT William D. Port, Elizabethtown, PA
  • CPL James Castaldi, Camden, NJ
Much later the North Vietnamese provided a listing of prisoners who had died in captivity; PFC Port's name was on that list with a date of death of 27 November 1968. His capture and subsequent death while a POW were confirmed when Captain Floyd H. Kushner and Warrant Officer Francis G. Anton were repatriated on 16 March 1973 - they were with PFC Port when he died. He was buried in a common grave with (reportedly) eight other U. S. prisoners.

In 1985 a joint US-Vietnamese team excavated the grave site and recovered human remains. These remains were among those released to the United States on 14 August 1985. Over the next several months, 24 missing Americans were identified - 11 Naval aviators, 8 Air Force fliers, 1 Marine infantryman, and 4 soldiers. William D. Port was one of the soldiers. He is buried in Section 7, Arlington National Cemetery.


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