Doane, Stephen Helden, 1LT

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Last Rank
First Lieutenant
Last Service Branch
Last Primary MOS
1542-Infantry Unit Commander
Last MOS Group
Infantry (Officer)
Primary Unit
1969-1969, 25th Infantry Division (Tropic Lightning)
Service Years
1967 - 1969


First Lieutenant

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

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Home State
Year of Birth
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Casualty Info
Home Town
Last Address

Casualty Date
Mar 25, 1969
Hostile, Died
Multiple Fragmentation Wounds
Hau Nghia (Vietnam)
Vietnam War
Location of Interment
Arlington National Cemetery - Arlington, Virginia
Wall/Plot Coordinates
28W 034

 Official Badges 

Infantry Shoulder Cord

 Unofficial Badges 

 Military Association Memberships
Vietnam Veterans Memorial
  2015, Vietnam Veterans Memorial [Verified] - Assoc. Page

 Photo Album   (More...

 Ribbon Bar

Combat Infantryman 1st Award

 Unit Assignments
Army Ranger School1st Battalion, 5th Infantry25th Infantry Division (Tropic Lightning)
  1968-1968, Army Ranger School
  1969-1969, 1st Battalion, 5th Infantry/HHC
  1969-1969, 25th Infantry Division (Tropic Lightning)
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1969-1969 Vietnam War/Counteroffensive Phase VI Campaign (1968-69)
  1969-1969 Vietnam War/Tet 69 Counteroffensive Campaign
 Colleges Attended 
Gettysburg College
  1966-1967, Gettysburg College
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

Stephen Helden Doane (October 13, 1947 – March 25, 1969) was a United States Army officer and a recipient of the United States military's highest decoration—the Medal of Honor—for his actions in the Vietnam War.

Born at Beverley, Massachusetts on October 13, 1947, he earned the
Medal of Honor while serving with Company B, 1st Battalion, 5th Infantry, 25th Infantry Division at Hua Nghia Province on March 15, 1969.

."He was first buried in the Walton (New York) Cemetery, but was moved to Section 59 of Arlington National Cemetery on July 11, 1980.

Doane joined the Army from Albany, New York, and by March 25, 1969 was serving as a first lieutenant in Company B, 1st Battalion, 5th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division. During a firefight on that day, in Hau Nghia Province, Republic of Vietnam, Doane destroyed an enemy bunker by carrying an activated hand grenade into it, sacrificing himself to take out the hostile position.

Doane, aged 21 at his death, was buried in Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington County, Virginia.

medal of honor image
Medal of Honor citation

"For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Serving as Platoon Leader when his unit engaged in a tactical operation, abruptly encountered an enemy force concealed in protected bunkers and trenches. Three of the leading soldiers were pinned down by enemy crossfire. One was seriously wounded. After the efforts of one platoon to rescue these men had failed, it became obvious that only a small group could successfully move close enough to destroy the enemy position and rescue the trapped soldiers. Although fully aware of the danger of such an action, he crawled to the nearest enemy bunker and silenced it. He was wounded, but continued to advance on the second enemy bunker. As he prepared to throw a grenade, he was again wounded. Undaunted, he deliberately pulled the pin on the grenade and lunged with it into the enemy bunker, destroying this final obstacle. His supreme act enabled his company to rescue the trapped men without further casualties. The extraordinary courage and selflessness displayed by this officer were an inspiration to his men and are in the highest traditions of the United States Army."

Doane was born Oct. 13, 1947, in Beverly Hospital, where his father, who grew up in Swampscott, worked while attending Tufts Medical School. Stephen Doane graduated from the Tilton School in New Hampshire and spent one year at Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania before he was drafted into the Army at the age of 19.

"He was a big kid," said his father, Dr. David Doane. "He wrestled heavyweight in college. He was 6-3, 210 pounds, without an ounce of fat. That's probably why he was a good Ranger. But he was very gentle. He was the oldest of our five children, and he was totally in charge.

"He was a lot of fun. I know I'm prejudiced, but he had no particular vices. He played football, he wrestled, he was in the band. He had an Austin-Healey car. He had a lot of girlfriends. He enjoyed life."

Doane was trained as an officer and a Ranger before heading off to Vietnam in January of 1969. "The last thing he said before getting on the plane was, 'Dad, I'm not going to come back a dead hero. I'm going to take care of my men,'" his father said.  

During his service, First Lieutenant Doane's valor and performance of duties merited award of the Medal of Honor (posthumously), the Silver Star, two Bronze Stars, two Army Commendation Medals, and two Purple Hearts.

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