Medal of Honor
MODRZEJEWSKI, ROBERT J.
Rank and organization. Major (then Capt.), U.S. Marine Corps, Company K, 3d Battalion, 4th Marines, 3d Marine Division, FMF
Place and date: Republic of Vietnam, 15 to 18 July 1966
Entered service at: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Born: 3 July 1934, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. On 15 July, during Operation HASTINGS, Company K was landed in an enemy infested jungle area to establish a blocking position at a major enemy trail network. Shortly after landing, the company encountered a reinforced enemy platoon in a well organized, defensive position. Maj. Modrzejewski led his men in the successful seizure of the enemy redoubt, which contained large quantities of ammunition and supplies. That evening, a numerically superior enemy force counterattacked in an effort to retake the vital supply area, thus setting the pattern of activity for the next 2 1/2 days. In the first series of attacks, the enemy assaulted repeatedly in overwhelming numbers but each time was repulsed by the gallant Marines. The second night, the enemy struck in battalion strength, and Maj. Modrzejewski was wounded in this intensive action which was fought at close quarters. Although exposed to enemy fire, and despite his painful wounds, he crawled 200 meters to provide critically needed ammunition to an exposed element of his command and was constantly present wherever the fighting was heaviest, despite numerous casualties, a dwindling supply of ammunition and the knowledge that they were surrounded, he skillfully directed artillery fire to within a few meters of his position and courageously inspired the efforts of his company in repelling the aggressive enemy attack. On 18 July, Company K was attacked by a regimental-size enemy force. Although his unit was vastly outnumbered and weakened by the previous fighting, Maj. Modrzejewski reorganized his men and calmly moved among them to encourage and direct their efforts to heroic limits as they fought to overcome the vicious enemy onslaught. Again he called in air and artillery strikes at close range with devastating effect on the enemy, which together with the bold and determined fighting of the men of Company K, repulsed the fanatical attack of the larger North Vietnamese force. His unparalled personal heroism and indomitable leadership inspired his men to a significant victory over the enemy force and reflected great credit upon himself, the Marine Corps, and the U.S. Naval Service.
This message was received on 1 July 2001:
I have recently come across the web-page listing the Medal of Honor recipients from the Vietnam War. I was guided to this location from and email that I received from a Marine that I had served with in Vietnam during 1966-67.
I was in "K" Company, 3rd Battalion, 4th Marines from the time I joined up with them in Okinawa, in January 1966, (returning to Vietnam a few weeks later) until around September of 1966 (I was then transferred to "Mike" Company 3Bn/4thMarines and completed my 2nd tour there in November 1967). During the time that I was in "K" Company, I was in Lt. John J. McGinty's (he was then a Staff Sergeant) platoon for awhile. I don't recall how long, but I do remember being in his platoon as part of a machine gun crew. I was on Operations Hastings with this platoon and recall the several battles with the Viet Cong and the NVA. I don't recall specifically where I was during the battle that Lt. McGinty won his Medal of Honor for, but I do recall that he was a stimulating force for all those guys who were fighting for their lives that day. He seemed to be everywhere at once, rallying us Marines and making sure everyone had plenty of ammunition to carry them through. He also made sure that our fighting spirits remained high by creating a "can do" attitude among us.
Not only did I serve with Lt. McGinty, I also had the pleasure of serving with Major (then a Captain) Robert J. Modzrjewski who also received the Medal of Honor for the same battles that occured on Operation Hastings. These two fighting Marines will always live in my memory as "hero's" of that day. Their spirit, courage and leadership kept most of us alive during those fateful days.
It was, indeed, an honor and a real pleasure to have served with such fine Marines.
Congratulations to Lt. John J. McGinty on his award. I wish him, and his family, all the very best that life has to offer.
I would enjoy hearing from anyone that served in his platoon during the Vietnam war (1966-67)
Roger D. Kimble (then a PFC)
"K" Company, 3Bn/4thMar/3rdMarDiv
Now living in:
Cedar Hill, Texas
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