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Ohio Valley Military Society
Show of Shows
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Don J. Jenkins
born 18 April 1948 in Quality, KY, and entered service from Nashville, TN. By January 6,
he was serving as private first class in Company A, 2d Battalion, 39th Infantry Regiment, 9th Infantry
Division. During a firefight on that day, in Kien Phong Province, Republic of Vietnam, Jenkins repeatedly
exposed himself to hostile fire to engage the enemy, resupply his ammunition, and obtain new weapons.
Despite being wounded himself, he made several trips through intense fire to rescue other wounded sol-
diers. For his actions during the battle Jenkins was promoted to Staff Sergeant and awarded the Congres-
sioal Medal of Honor. President Richard Nixon presented Jenkins with his Congressional Medal of Honor
on March 2, 1 1.
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. S/
Sgt. Jenkins (then Pfc.), Company A, distinguished himself while serving as a machine gunner on a recon-
naissance mission. When his company came under heavy crossfire from an enemy complex, S/Sgt. Jen-
kins unhesitatingly maneuvered forward to a perilously exposed position and began placing suppressive
fire on the enemy. When his own machinegun jammed, he immediately obtained a rifle and continued to
fire into the enemy bunkers until his machinegun was made operative by his assistant. He exposed himself
to extremely heavy fire when he repeatedly both ran and crawled across open terrain to obtain resupplies
of ammunition until he had exhausted all that was available for his machinegun. Displaying tremendous
presence of mind, he then armed himself with 2 antitank weapons and, by himself, maneuvered through
the hostile fusillade to within 20 meters of an enemy bunker to destroy that position. After moving back to
the friendly defensive perimeter long enough to secure yet another weapon, a grenade launcher, S/Sgt.
Jenkins moved forward to a position providing no protection and resumed placing accurate fire on the en-
emy until his ammunition was again exhausted. During this time he was seriously wounded by shrapnel.
Undaunted and displaying great courage, he moved forward 100 meters to aid a friendly element that was
pinned down only a few meters from the enemy. This he did with complete disregard for his own wound
and despite having been advised that several previous rescue attempts had failed at the cost of the life of
and the wounding of others. Ignoring the continuing intense fire and his painful wounds, and hindered by
darkness, he made 3 trips to the beleaguered unit, each time pulling a wounded comrade back to safety.
S/Sgt. Jenkins’ extraordinary valor, dedication, and indomitable spirit inspired his fellow soldiers to repulse
the determined enemy attack and ultimately to defeat the larger force. S/Sgt. Jenkins risk of his life reflect
great credit upon himself, his unit, and the U.S. Army.”