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First Name: Garfield

Last Name: Langhorn

Birthplace: Cumberland, VA, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Home of Record: Brooklyn, NY
Middle Name: McConnell

Date of Birth: 10 September 1948

Date of Death: 15 January 1969

Rank: Private First Class

Years Served:
Garfield McConnell Langhorn

•  Vietnam War (1960 - 1973)


Garfield McConnell Langhorn
Private First Class, U.S. Army
Medal of Honor Recipient
Vietnam War

Private First Class Garfield McConnell Langhorn (10 September 1948 - 15 January 1969) was a U.S. Army soldier who was posthumously awarded America's highest military award for valor, the Medal of Honor, for his actions in the Vietnam War.

Garfield McConnell Langhorn was born on 10 September 1948, in Cumberland, VA. He joined the Army in Brooklyn, NY. On 15 January 1969, he was serving as a Private First Class in Troop C, 7th Squadron (Airmobile), 17th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Aviation Brigade. On that day, Langhorn's unit attempted to rescue the crew of a downed American helicopter. After finding the crash site and the bodies of its dead crewmen, the unit turned back, only to be attacked by entrenched North Vietnamese forces. During the battle, Langhorn threw himself on an enemy hand grenade that had been thrown near several wounded soldiers. He was killed in the ensuing explosion, but succeeded in protecting the lives of his fellow soldiers. For his heroic self-sacrifice he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.

Medal of Honor

Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Pfc. Langhorn distinguished himself while serving as a radio operator with Troop C, near Plei Djereng in Pleiku province. Pfc. Langhorn's platoon was inserted into a landing zone to rescue 2 pilots of a Cobra helicopter shot down by enemy fire on a heavily timbered slope. He provided radio coordination with the command-and-control aircraft overhead while the troops hacked their way through dense undergrowth to the wreckage, where both aviators were found dead. As the men were taking the bodies to a pickup site, they suddenly came under intense fire from North Vietnamese soldiers in camouflaged bunkers to the front and right flank, and within minutes they were surrounded. Pfc. Langhorn immediately radioed for help from the orbiting gunships, which began to place minigun and rocket fire on the aggressors. He then lay between the platoon leader and another man, operating the radio and providing covering fire for the wounded who had been moved to the center of the small perimeter. Darkness soon fell, making it impossible for the gunships to give accurate support, and the aggressors began to probe the perimeter. An enemy hand grenade landed in front of Pfc. Langhorn and a few feet from personnel who had become casualties. Choosing to protect these wounded, he unhesitatingly threw himself on the grenade, scooped it beneath his body and absorbed the blast. By sacrificing himself, he saved the lives of his comrades. Pfc. Langhorn's extraordinary heroism at the cost of his life was in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit on himself, his unit, and the U.S. Army.

Vietnam Veterans Memorial

Garfield McConnell Langhorn's name is inscribed on Panel 34W - Line 9.

Medals and Awards

Medal of Honor
Purple Heart


On 27 September 2010, the Riverhead, NY, post office building was named the Private First Class Garfield M. Langhorn Post Office Building by the 111th United States Congress.

Death and Burial

Private First Class Garfield McConnell Langhorn was killed in action on 15 January 1969. He is buried at Riverhead Cemetery in Riverhead, NY.

Honoree ID: 1001   Created by: MHOH




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