first published on April 23, 2019 by Sean
After 52 years, a long overdue Navy Cross has been awarded to James H. Stogner who served with 1st Battalion, 9th Marines – better known as the “Walking Dead” – for his undeniably brave actions on the night of April 5, 1967. The then 18-year-old Lance Cpl. would rescue one of his brother Marines from capture after killing multiple North Vietnamese Army (NVA) in brutal hand-to-hand fighting with a Ka-Bar knife.
Video courtesy of Sgt. Molly Hampton and the Department of Defense.
According to the Marine Corps Times, “As darkness fell, illumination rounds lit up the night sky revealing some enemy positions, a sudden quick burst from Stogner’s rifle took out three NVA soldiers. But return fire smacked Stogner’s rifle, slamming him in the face and breaking his nose.”
“Wounded, Stogner dropped into the prone position as grenade and mortar rounds exploded all around him. As the illumination rounds died out, much of his platoon had been killed or wounded, cut down by enemy fire.”
“Enemy troops then pushed across the field, killing wounded Marines and taking their equipment. Stogner, armed with his Ka-bar knife, low crawled through the dark near his wounded fellow comrades and managed to kill three NVA troops with his knife.”
“But Fobbs, Stogner’s machine gunner, was captured and dragged into the vegetation across the NVA entrenched position.”
“Stogner continued to crawl and moved undetected towards Fobbs’ screams, where he found four NVA soldiers kicking and abusing his comrade.”
“Stogner killed one of the NVA troops quietly with his Ka-bar as the enemy soldier moved toward vegetation Stogner was hiding in, and a second NVA soldier was killed in similar fashion.”
“With two NVA soldiers remaining, Stogner stormed the position armed with his knife, thrusting it into one of the men’s chests as hand to hand combat ensued.”
“All four NVA troops were killed as Stogner slung Fobbs over his shoulder and grabbed his M60 machine gun, carrying him to friendly lines through a hail of gunfire and grenade explosions.”