Gilbert, James Caroll, SGM

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Last Rank
Sergeant Major
Last Service Branch
Last Primary MOS
02S-Special Band Member
Last MOS Group
Army Band (Enlisted)
Primary Unit
1968-1969, 02S, 1st Brigade, 4th Infantry Division
Service Years
1947 - 1969
Official/Unofficial US Army Certificates
Cold War Certificate

Sergeant Major

Seven Service Stripes

Five Overseas Service Bars

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

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Home State
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by SP 5 Michael William St. Mark to remember Gilbert, James Caroll, SGM.

If you knew or served with this Soldier and have additional information or photos to support this Page, please leave a message for the Page Administrator(s) HERE.
Casualty Info
Home Town
Last Address

Casualty Date
Mar 12, 1969
Hostile, Died
Air Loss, Crash - Land
Kontum (Vietnam)
Vietnam War
Location of Interment
Elk Mills Cemetery - Elk Mills, Tennessee
Wall/Plot Coordinates
29W 019

 Official Badges 

 Unofficial Badges 

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

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 Ribbon Bar

 Unit Assignments
1st Brigade, 4th Infantry Division
  1968-1969, 02S, 1st Brigade, 4th Infantry Division
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1969-1969 Vietnam War/Tet 69 Counteroffensive Campaign
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity
Sergeant Major James Caroll Gilbert was born on June 1, 1926, and was originally from Butler, Tennessee.  He served his country in the Vietnam War in the United States Army, in HHC, 1st Brigade, 4th Infantry Division.  He was a 22-year veteran of the Army when his tour in Vietnam began on September 15, 1966.

On March 12, 1969, he was killed under hostile conditions while aboard a helicopter evacuating wounded men from a combat site; he was 42 years old. SGM. Gilbert received the Distinguished Service Cross for his actions at the time of his death. He is memorialized on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on Panel 29W, Line 19.

Service Number:  44041639

CSM James C. Gilbert is buried in Elk Mills Cemetery, Elk Mills, Tennessee.

Find A Grave Memorial:


Distinguished Service Cross

Awarded posthumously for actions during the Vietnam War

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 9, 1918 (amended by act of July 25, 1963), takes pride in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross (Posthumously) to Sergeant Major James Caroll Gilbert (ASN: RA-44041639), United States Army, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations involving conflict with an armed hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam, while serving with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Brigade, 4th Infantry Division. Sergeant Major Gilbert distinguished himself by exceptionally valorous actions on 12 March 1969 while flying in a command and control helicopter with his brigade commander near Kontum. An ambulance helicopter evacuated a load of casualties from an infantry company in heavy contact with a battalion-size North Vietnamese Army force, but it was so badly damaged by enemy fire that it was unable to return for the remaining wounded. Realizing that the ground unit would be unable to maneuver until the injured men were extracted, Sergeant Major Gilbert urged the brigade commander to use his aircraft to complete the evacuation. He fired at the communists from tree-top level and directed the fire of the door gunners on two flights to the landing zone. On both attempts, however, the infantrymen were pinned down by hostile fire and unable to reach the ship. Although the helicopter had received a number of hits in the fuselage, Sergeant Major Gilbert directed the pilot to fly over the North Vietnamese nearest the pickup site and exposed himself to a hail of bullets by leaning out and firing into the enemy positions. During an approach to the landing zone, automatic weapons fire wounded the pilot and door gunner, forcing the co-pilot to wrench the ship into a series of evasive actions. Sergeant Major Gilbert detached his seat harness and braced himself in the doorway to shield the brigade commander and bring the most effective fire against the North Vietnamese. He succeeded in silencing one emplacement and was engaging another as the helicopter was nearing safety when he was struck and killed by the hostile fusillade. Command Sergeant Major Gilbert's extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty, at the cost of his life, were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.

General Orders: Headquarters, U.S. Army, Vietnam, General Orders No. 1723 (May 14, 1969)
Action Date: 12-Mar-69
Service: Army
Rank: Sergeant Major
Company: Headquarters and Headquarters Company
Regiment: 1st Brigade
Division: 4th Infantry Division

 Note:  The witness reports are available online.



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