The Marine Corps Medal of Honor Recipients
Featuring Marine Medal of Honor Recipients From WWII-Korea-Viet Nam And Iraqi Freedom
LANCE CORPORAL ROY M. WHEAT
UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a fire team leader with the First Platoon, Company K, Third Battalion, Seventh Marines, First Marine Division, in the Republic of Vietnam. On 11 August 1967, Corporal Wheat and two other Marines were assigned the mission of providing security for a Navy construction battalion crane and crew operating along Liberty Road in the vicinity of the Dien Ban District, Quang Nam Province. After the Marines had set up security positions in a tree line adjacent to the work site, Corporal Wheat reconnoitered the area to the rear of their location for the the possible presence of guerrillas. He then returned to within ten feet of the friendly position, and here unintentionally triggered a well concealed, bounding type, antipersonnel mine. Immediately, a hissing sound was heard which was identified by the three Marines as that of a burning time fuse. Shouting a warning to his comrades, Corporal Wheat in a valiant act of heroism hurled himself upon the mine, absorbing the tremendous impact of the explosion with his own body. The inspirational personal heroism and extraordinary valor of his unselfish action saved his fellow Marines from certain injury and possible death, reflected great credit upon himself, and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave life for his country .
LYNDON B. JOHNSON
President of the United States
Roy Mitchell Wheat, who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for heroism in Vietnam in August 1967, was born 24 July 1947, in Moselle, Mississippi. He attended Jones County schools in Ellisville, Mississippi, leaving high school, after two years, in 1965.
In September 1966, he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps at Jackson, Mississippi. Private Wheat then reported to Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, South Carolina. He underwent recruit training with the 2d Recruit Training Battalion, after which he completed special infantry training with the 1st Infantry Training Battalion, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Upon completion of infantry training, he was promoted to private first class, February 1967.
Private First Class Wheat arrived in the Republic of Vietnam in March 1967, and was assigned duty as a rifleman with Company K, 3d Battalion, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division. His unit participated in numerous combat operations, including Operation DeSoto, Duc Pho District, Quang Ngai Province; and Operations Webster, Arizona, Butler and Gem in Quang Nam Province. He was promoted to lance corporal, June 1967.
While assigned, with two other Marines, the mission of providing security for a Navy construction battalion crane and crew operating along Liberty Road in the vicinity of Dien Ban District, Quang Nam Province on 11 August 1967, LCpl Wheat was killed by multiple shrapnel wounds received when he unintentionally triggered a well concealed antipersonnel mine.
His medals and decorations include: the Medal of Honor, the Navy Commendation Medal, the Purple Heart with one Gold Star, the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal with two bronze stars, the Vietnamese Military Merit Medal, the Vietnamese Gallantry Cross with Palm, and the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal.
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