Bouknight, Calvin, SP 5

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Last Rank
Specialist 5
Last Service Branch
Medical Corps
Last Primary MOS
91B10-Medical Specialist
Last MOS Group
Medical Department (Enlisted)
Primary Unit
1965-1965, 91B10, HHC, 1st Cavalry Division
Service Years
1964 - 1965

Specialist 5

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

Home State
Not Specified
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by SP 5 Michael William St. Mark to remember Bouknight, Calvin, SP 5.

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Casualty Info
Home Town
Last Address

Casualty Date
Nov 16, 1965
Hostile, Died of Wounds
Gun, Small Arms Fire
Pleiku (Vietnam)
Vietnam War
Location of Interment
Arlington National Cemetery - Arlington, Virginia
Wall/Plot Coordinates
03E 064

 Official Badges 

 Unofficial Badges 

 Military Association Memberships
Vietnam Veterans Memorial
  1982, Vietnam Veterans Memorial [Verified] - Assoc. Page

 Photo Album   (More...

 Ribbon Bar

Combat Medical 1st Award

 Unit Assignments/ Advancement Schools
1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry (Airmobile) 1st Cavalry Division
  1965-1965, 91B10, HHC, 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry (Airmobile)
  1965-1965, 91B10, HHC, 1st Cavalry Division
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1965-1965 Vietnam War/Defense Campaign (1965)
  1965-1965 Vietnam War/Defense Campaign (1965)/Operation Silver Bayonet I - Battle of the Ia Drang
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity
"Greater love hath no man than this," said Jesus, "that a man lay down his life for his friends."

"On this basis, the story of the men of the Ia Drang is, most assuredly, a towering love story. This love was exemplified many times at Landing Zones X-Ray and Albany, as in the case of Specialist Calvin Bouknight. Lieutenant Dennis Deal recounts what happened as three platoons from Alpha and Bravo companies attempted to rescue Lieutenant Henry Herrick�??s platoon, which had been badly mauled and cut off from the rest of the battalion. Before the rescuers could break through to the lost platoon, they were themselves nearly overrun.

"There were at least fifteen of our men, wounded and dead, out front," said Deal. "At this point, Specialist 5 Calvin Bouknight rose from cover, ran over, and began administering aid to the wounded. He succeeded in treating four or five of them, always by placing his body between the continuous sheets of heavy fire and the man he was treating. Bouknight was mortally wounded less than five minutes after he began performing his stunningly heroic act."

"Assigned to 3-6 on Nov 1, 1965. I was the 3-6 Platoon Leader and was assigned Bouknight because I didn't have a medic. 

"On 14 November we were the first company to land in the Ia Drang Valley. Calvin was a Conscientious Objector and refused to carry a weapon due to his religious beliefs although he was a career soldier. I asked him several times in the two weeks I knew him to carry a sidearm (very difficult at the time due to lack of .45 ammo, lots of pistols, no ammo).

"In the hell that was the Ia Drang Valley on 14 November, Calvin was with my "command group" (me, medic, RTO, PLT SGT). I don't think I exaggerate when I say at any given second there were 1000 bullets flying around. We got to a point where we were doubly surrounded. There were many wounded up front where we had been but had been forced to withdraw. We were all on our stomachs trying to figure where to maneuver next. Suddenly I felt someone's boots literally running up my back in the face of all this fire where nobody could get to their knees without being shot (ref: Second Lieutenant Wayne Johnson).

"Calvin proceeded to place his body between the enemy and our wounded and succeeded in treating 2-4 of them before the inevitable happened. He was shot between the shoulder blades and paralyzed waist down. A lull in the firing occurred and Calvin was recovered by 2 men who made a seat for him by criss-crossing their hands and as he passed, he said as tears flooded down his face, "it hurts, sir, it hurts so bad" and they moved him on. I told him he would make it and to hang on. I was told he died in mid-scream from his horrific pain. We had given him morphine and may as well have injected water for all the good it did.

"Colonel Herren and I tried to get his Silver Star upgraded to a Medal of Honor but were not successful. Later at base camp an EM club was erected and named Bouknight Hall. The real injustice for this gallant man who upheld the highest standards of the Medic Credo is that his Silver Star is not engraved on his tombstone at Arlington. Only the worst award of all is on it, the Purple Heart."

--Dennis Deal

SP5 Bouknight is buried at Arlington Nationl Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia; Section 38, Grave 240.  Find A Grave Memorial:


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