Thank you so much for your work in keeping The Virtual Wall up
and running. We must never forget those who served our country so unselfishly and paid the ultimate price
along with the wounded and POWS.
I have attached a picture of a very good friend of mine who died in Viet Nam, He was awarded the
Congressional Medal of Honor.
-- Greg Iverson, 10/04/2012
The Army's Adjutant General notification of a "Military Casualty in Vietnam
as the Result of Hostile Action" to the Army Chief of Staff stated: On 19 May 1967, "Indiv was on combat operation when he
jumped on hostile grenade to save the lives of his friends." Perhaps a bit short based on full circumstances.
In the Command Chronology of the Third Marine Amphibious Force (III MAF), available to the public from Texas
Vietnam Virtual Archive, it has a bit more information about events of 18 May, but not a lot more.
The Report states "Operation Malheur ... At 0920 hours, 18 May, Company B, 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry,
101st Airborne, engaged 20 NVA in the vicinity of BS 705322, resulting in 9 NVA confirmed killed in action and the
capture of 1 NVA Nurse and 1 smuggler. At 1420 (2:20 p.m) that same day in vicinity of BS 703322, Company B
maneuvered an estimated Viet Cong company into a pocket resulting in 31 VC confirmed killed in action." End of report.
The rest of the report did not show that Company B had made that afternoon contact on Hill 424 while one of their
platoons, with SP4 Wayrynen, was patrolling several miles away from the main body. The platoon made their way from
their patrol area, reaching the company on Hill 424 late in the afternoon. The platoon made stretchers to move the
Company B wounded off the hill and they started down the jungle path in single file as darkness came. By now however,
it was so dark they couldn't follow the path. The unit radioed for illumination flares and waited. There was lightning
in the area, and during one of the lightning flashes, the platoon realized they were face to face with the enemy.
Contact had been made again. Shortly after the contact started, illumination rounds began and the unit realized they
were near an NVA bunker complex.
Also shortly after the start of this contact, still in the dark, was when Dale covered a grenade thrown by the enemy with
his body to shield other members of his squad from injury. Dale survived his initial injuries for several hours more
but died as the fighting subsided and the sounds of battle, were replaced with the cries of the wounded. They remained
on the hill until morning when they evacuated the injured and dead.
On October 17, 1969, newspapers reported the White House ceremoney with President Richard Nixon presenting the Medal of
Honor, posthumously, to 3 families of servicmen. The first two were in the same platoon from Company B, 1st
Battalion, 8th Cavlary, 1st Cavalry Division who kept the enemy away from a downd helicopter. The medal was presented
to the parents of SP5 Edgar Lee McWethy, Jr (Mr and Mrs Edgar L McWethy of Baxter
Kansas) and SP4
Carmel Bernon Harvey, Jr (Mrs Carmell Harvey of Chicago, Illinois).
Along with the parents of the other 2 soldiers, LaVerne and Eugene E. Wayrynen of McGregor, Minnesota, accepted their
son's Medal of Honor from President Nixon in a private ceremony. Dale's father, Eugene, was a gunner on a B-17 bomber
during World War II. When his plane was shot down in 1944, the
elder Wayrynen spent a year as a prisoner of war.
On October 27, 1969, the Department of the Army issued General Orders 66, confirming the award of the Medal of Honor to
SP4 Dale Eugene Wayrynen. The order, with more details of the full story,
Greg Iverson, in his email submission of the photo, also attached a link to "Other information".
Upon review, it is the
(Minnesota Public Radio - November 13, 2007)
surrounding the events, by the men who were saved, in which SP4 Dale E Wayrynen was killed protecting his friends.
-- The Virtual Wall