Michael Vinassa

Specialist Four
Army of the United States
06 November 1946 - 22 May 1966
Culver City, California
Panel 07E Line 104


Distinguished Service Cross Silver Star

Combat Infantry

Purple Heart, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign


The database page for Michael Vinassa

24 Jul 2006

Michael Vinassa, I am honored to write in your memory. LT Vavrick led you to replace Bravo Company's 1st Platoon upon its withdrawal from the fight. I have heard you were outstanding with your grenade launcher. You single-handedly beat back a flanking unit of NVA soldiers with your bravery and remarkable ability, yet in your rush to save others you forgot about yourself, which is how heros are born. You had just eliminated the final enemy machine gun when their last burst took you from us. The level of bravery cannot be met with simple medals, your actions are the result of your selfless attitude. You saved lives that day, yet lost your own. America lost a son, a hero, a selfless man. Your place in heaven was ready for your homecoming, and you went out honorably. Thank you, Mr. Vinassa, for giving your own so others might live.


In Gerry Metcalf's Memory,
James Oldham

11 Nov 2006

Mr. Vinassa, your story is truly one that should be remembered for all of time. You were working on the brigade chapel leading up to this day. You were the only male left of your family, which consisted of your mom. You were a "short timer" with 2 or 3 weeks left, then you were going home. You made several requests to rejoin your brothers for one more battle. You were approved. Some would have revelled in being done, you wanted to give more. This makes the bond formed from battle more obvious. You were one of Charlie Company's finest, and proved that by your actions. They say you could thread a needle with the M79, you proved it with the lives you saved. THANK YOU.


In Gerry Metcalf's Memory,
James Oldham

03 Mar 2007

I was a teenage friend of Michael Vinassa. We belonged to a club known as the Chancellors of Venice. Mike was a tough kid and a fighter. Big, barrel-chested, well-liked and well-respected.

During the Viet Nam era, we both went into the Army at roughly the same time. Our paths had already parted. In 1966, I was in Germany and read in the Army Times that he was on the list of casualties. Mike was one of two of the Chancellors who died in Viet Nam. The other young man died while I was home on leave in Los Angeles, and I attended his funeral. I have since visited his grave twice in the past year. I am still trying to detemine where Mike is buried, so I can also visit his grave and pay my respects. I have learned that Mike died in heroic circumstances.

Mike, may you rest in peace and may your sacrifice never be forgotten.

Gary Fouse

A Note from The Virtual Wall

The 8th Cavalry fought two bitter engagements in the Vinh Thanh Valley in May 1966. On 17 May the 2nd Battalion lost 19 soldiers, and on the 22nd the 1st Battalion lost eleven more:


22 September 1966



1. TC 320. The following AWARD is announced posthumously.

Michael G. Vinassa, Specialist 4 U. S. Army
Company C, 1st Battalion, 8th Cavalry

Awarded: Distinguished Service Cross
Date action: 22 May 1966
Theater: Republic of Vietnam
Reason: For extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations involving conflict with an armed hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam. Specialist Vinassa was serving as a Grenadier in the 3d Platoon, Company C, 1st Battalion (Airborne), 8th Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile), on a search and destroy operation in Binh Dinh Province. About 1500 hours on 22 May 1966, Company C was engaged by a large Viet Cong force that halted their advancement. The 3d Platoon was then given the mission of moving through the intense hostile fire to reinforce the right flank of Company C. A machine gun caused the 2d Squad to be pinned down. Specialist Vinassa started moving up the left draw delivering supporting fire that caused the 2d Squad to be pinned down. Specialist Vinassa started moving up the left draw delivering supporting fire that caused several of the insurgents to be killed. As the squad continued up the hill, several friendly defenders were wounded, however, Specialist Vinassa encouraged his comrades to follow him as he pressed forward. As they came in close to the Viet Cong positions, the insurgents began throwing grenades, at which time Specialist Vinassa had managed to crawl within ten meters of the machine gun position. As the machine gun poured deadly fire at the remaining members of the squad, Specialist Vinassa, with complete disregard for his own personal safety, charged through the open ten meters and threw a grenade at the emplacement destroying the gun and its crew. Just before the grenade went off, Specialist Vinassa was mortally wounded. His valor made it possible for the rest of the company to continue up the hill. Specialist Vinassa's extraordinary heroism 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.

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 24 Jul 2006
Last updated 08/10/2009