Gertsch, John Gary (MOH), SSG Fallen
 
 Photo In Uniform   Service Details
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Last Rank
Staff Sergeant
Last Service Branch
Infantry
Last Primary MOS
11B-Infantryman
Last MOS Group
Infantry (Enlisted)
Last Unit
1968-1969, 11B, 101st Airborne Division
Service Years
1966 - 1969
Unofficial US Army Certificates
Cold War Certificate



Staff Sergeant


One Service Stripe



Two Overseas Service Bars


 Last Photo   Personal Details 

11 kb

Home State
Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania
Year of Birth
1944
 
Casualty Info
Home Town
Russell
Last Address
Russell

Casualty Date
Jul 19, 1969
 
Cause
Hostile, Died
Reason
Gun, Small Arms Fire
Location
Thua Thien
Conflict
Wars and Conflicts/Vietnam War/Unspecified Operation
Location of Interment
Not Specified
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Not Specified

 Official Badges 

Infantry Shoulder Cord 101st Airbone Division


 Unofficial Badges 

Cold War Medal Cold War Veteran

 Photo Album   (More...


 Ribbon Bar

Combat Infantryman 1st Award

Parachutist (Basic)

 
 Unit Assignments
1st Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment (Airborne)101st Airborne Division
  1968-1969, 11B, 1st Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment (Airborne)
  1968-1969, 11B, 101st Airborne Division
 Combat and Operations History
  1966-1967 Vietnam War/Counteroffensive Phase II Campaign 1 July 1966 to 31 May 1967 VSM Streamer
  1967-1968 Vietnam War/Counteroffensive, Phase III Campaign 1 June 1967 to 29 January 1968 VSM Streamer
  1968-1968 Vietnam War/Tet Counteroffensive Campaign 30 January to 1 April 1968 VSM Streamer
  1968-1968 Vietnam War/Counteroffensive Phase IV Campaign 2 April to 30 June 1968 VSM Streamer
  1968-1968 Vietnam War/Counteroffensive Phase V Campaign 1 July to 1 November 1968 VSM Streamer
  1968-1969 Vietnam War/Counteroffensive Phase VI Campaign 2 November 1968 to 22 February 1969 VSM Streamer
  1969-1969 Vietnam War/Summer-Fall 1969 Campaign 9 June to 31 October 1969 VSM Streamer
  1969-1969 Vietnam War/Tet 69 Counteroffensive Campaign 23 February to 8 June 1969 VSM Streamer
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity
Rank and organization: Staff Sergeant, U.S.. Army, Company E, 1st Battalion, 327th Infantry, 101st Airborne Division. Place and date: A Shau Valley, Republic of Vietnam, 15 to 19 July 1969. Entered service at: Buffalo, N.Y. Born: 29 September 1944, Jersey City, N.J.:



Medal of Honor Citation:

S/Sgt. Gertsch distinguished himself while serving as a platoon sergeant and platoon leader during combat operations in the A Shau Valley. During the initial phase of an operation to seize a strongly defended enemy position, S/Sgt. Gertsch's platoon leader was seriously wounded and lay exposed to intense enemy fire. Forsaking his own safety, without hesitation S/Sgt. Gertsch rushed to aid his fallen leader and dragged him to a sheltered position. He then assumed command of the heavily engaged platoon and led his men in a fierce counterattack that forced the enemy to withdraw. Later, a small element of S/Sgt. Gertsch's unit was reconnoitering when attacked again by the enemy. S/Sgt. Gertsch moved forward to his besieged element and immediately charged, firing as he advanced. His determined assault forced the enemy troops to withdraw in confusion and made possible the recovery of 2 wounded men who had been exposed to heavy enemy fire. Sometime later his platoon came under attack by an enemy force employing automatic weapons, grenade, and rocket fire. S/Sgt. Gertsch was severely wounded during the onslaught but continued to command his platoon despite his painful wound. While moving under fire and encouraging his men he sighted an aidman treating a wounded officer from an adjacent unit. Realizing that both men were in imminent danger of being killed, he rushed forward and positioned himself between them and the enemy nearby. While the wounded officer was being moved to safety S/Sgt. Gertsch was mortally wounded by enemy fire. Without S/Sgt. Gertch's courage, ability to inspire others, and profound concern for the welfare of his men, the loss of life among his fellow soldiers would have been significantly greater. His conspicuous gallantry, extraordinary heroism, and intrepidity at the cost of his life, above and beyond the call of duty, are in the highest traditions of the U.S. Army and reflect great credit on him and the Armed Forces of his country.

SSG Gertsch is buried at Northside Catholic Cemetery, Ross Township (just outside Pittsburgh off Perrysville Avenue), PA.

The John Gertsch Memorial Post 77 of the Veterans of the Vietnam War recieved it's charter in 2003 in his hometown.
   
Comments/Citation
Sources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_G._Gertsch


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