President Joe Biden to Award Medal of Honor to 4 Vietnam Veterans on Tuesday

·2 min read
President Joe Biden to Award Medal of Honor to 4 Vietnam Veterans on Tuesday

Four Vietnam veterans will receive the United States' highest military honor Tuesday morning at the White House.

President Joe Biden will present the Medal of Honor to Specialist 5 Dwight W. Birdwell, Major John J. Duffy, and Specialist 5 Dennis M. Fujii, while Staff Sergeant Edward N. Kaneshiro will receive the award posthumously.

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The men "repeatedly put themselves in harm's way to defend injured comrades" during the 10-year war, said the U.S. Army in a June. 28 release.

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In the case of Birdwell and Duffy, this involved rebuffing "multiple enemy attacks while leading fellow soldiers and allies to safety," continued the Army, "despite sustaining wounds."

Combat medic Fujii, meanwhile, "repeatedly exposed himself to hostile fire" and "refused rescue attempts" to remain on the ground treating wounded comrades, said the Army.

Kaneshiro, an infantryman, "helped rescue trapped survivors of two U.S. squads who had been ambushed by enemy forces in a Kim Son Valley village," added the Army release. Tragically, he lost his life on active duty at a later stage of the war.

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Clockwise from left, Spc. 5 Dwight Birdwell; Spc. 5 Dennis Fujii; Staff Sgt. Edward Kaneshiro; and Maj. John Duffy
Clockwise from left, Spc. 5 Dwight Birdwell; Spc. 5 Dennis Fujii; Staff Sgt. Edward Kaneshiro; and Maj. John Duffy

Courtesy US Army

"Someone asked me if I feel like a hero," Birdwell told ABC News Tuesday about his award. "I don't feel like I am, but I served with plenty, especially that day, and [I'm] honored to have served with them."

Birdwell is also a former Cherokee Nation Supreme Court justice and will become the first Native American honored for action in Vietnam and the first to receive the award for action in any conflict since 1973, according to the outlet.

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On Thursday, President Biden will also present the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor, to 17 honorees including Olympic gold medalists Simone Biles and Megan Rapinoe, former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, and Oscar winning actor Denzel Washington.

The late Sen. John McCain and Steve Jobs will also receive the award posthumously.

The Presidential Medal of Freedom recipients are cited for their "contributions to the prosperity, values, or security of the United States, world peace, or other significant societal, public or private endeavors," according to The White House.

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