The Marine Corps Medal of Honor Recipients

Featuring Marine Medal of Honor Recipients From WWII-Korea-Viet Nam And Iraqi Freedom


United States Marine Corps

William Perkins, Jr.



For conspicuous gallantry and  intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call
of duty while serving as a combat photographer attached to Company C, First Battalion, First
Marines, First Marine Division, in the Republic of Vietnam on 12 October 1967.  During
Operation MEDINA, a major reconnaissance in force, southwest of Quang Tri, Company C made heavy combat contact with a numerically superior North Vietnamese Army Force estimated at from two to three companies.  The focal point of the intense fighting was a helicopter landing zone which
was also serving as the Command Post of Company C.  In the course of a strong hostile attack,an enemy grenade landed in the immediate area occupied by Corporal Perkins and three other Marines.  Realizing the inherent danger, he shouted the warning, "Incoming Grenade" to his fellow Marines, and in a valiant act of heroism, hurled himself upon the grenade absorbing the impact of the explosion with his own body thereby saving the lives of his comrades at the cost of his own.  Through his exceptional courage and inspiring valor in the face of certain death, Corporal Perkins reflected great credit upon himself and the Marine Corps and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.  He gallantly gave his life for hiscountry.

President of the United States

William T. Perkins, Jr., who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for heroism in Vietnam in 1967, was born 10 August 1947 in Rochester, New York. In elementary school he moved with his family to California and graduated from James Monroe High School, Sepulveda, California, in 1965.

He enlisted in the Marine Corps Reserve 27 April 1966 and was discharged to enlist in the Regular Marine Corps 6 July 1966.

Upon completion of recruit training with the 2d Recruit Training Battalion Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego, California, he was promoted to private first class 22 September 1966. Transferred to the Marine Corps Base, Camp Pendleton, California, he underwent individual combat training with the 3d Battalion, 2d Infantry Training Regiment.

From October 1966 to January 1967, he served as a photographer with Headquarters Battalion, Marine Corps Supply Center, Barstow, California. He was promoted to lance corporal 1 January 1967. For the next four months, LCpl Perkins was a student at the Motion Picture Photography, U.S. Army Signal Center and School, Fort Monmouth, New Jersey. In May 1967, he was transferred back to Headquarters Battalion, Barstow, California.

In July 1967, LCpl Perkins served as a photographer with Service Company, Headquarters Battalion, 3d Marine Division and was transferred to the Republic of Vietnam. He was promoted to corporal 1 August 1967. While serving as a combat photographer with Company C, 1st Battalion, 1st Marines, 1st Marine Division during Operation Medina, he was killed in action on 12 October 1967.

A complete list of his medals and decorations include: the Medal of Honor, the Purple Heart, the Presidential Unit Citation, the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal with one bronze star, the Vietnamese Military Merit Medal, the Vietnamese Gallantry Cross with Palm, and the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal.

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