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First Name: Billy

Last Name: Lauffer

Birthplace: Murray, KY, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Home of Record: Phoenix, AZ
Middle Name: Lane

Date of Birth: 20 October 1945

Date of Death: 21 September 1966

Rank: Private First Class

Years Served: 1962 - 1966
Billy Lane Lauffer

•  Vietnam War (1960 - 1973)


Billy Lane Lauffer
Private First Class, U.S. Army
Medal of Honor Recipient
Vietnam War

Private First Class Billy Lane Lauffer (20 October 1945 - 21 September 1966) was a U.S. Army soldier who was posthumously awarded the U.S. military's highest award for valor, the Medal of Honor, for his actions in the Vietnam War.

Billy Lane Lauffer was born on 20 October 1945, in Murray, KY. He joined the Army at Phoenix, AZ. On 21 September 1966, he was serving as a Private First Class in Company C, 2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Air Cavalry Division. During a firefight that day near Bon Son in Binh Dinh Province, Republic of Vietnam, he single-handedly charged an enemy emplacement, creating a diversion so his comrades could move their wounded to safety. Mortally wounded in the charge, Lauffer was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions.

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. Lauffer's squad, a part of Company C, was suddenly struck at close range by an intense machine gun crossfire from 2 concealed bunkers astride the squad's route. Pfc. Lauffer, the second man in the column, saw the lead man fall and noted that the remainder of the squad was unable to move. Two comrades, previously wounded and being carried on litters, were lying helpless in the beaten zone of the enemy fire. Reacting instinctively, Pfc. Lauffer quickly engaged both bunkers with fire from his rifle, but when the other squad members attempted to maneuver under his covering fire, the enemy fusillade increased in volume and thwarted every attempt to move. Seeing this and his wounded comrades helpless in the open, Pfc. Lauffer rose to his feet and charged the enemy machine gun positions, firing his weapon and drawing the enemy's attention. Keeping the enemy confused and off balance, his 1-man assault provided the crucial moments for the wounded point man to crawl to a covered position, the squad to move the exposed litter patients to safety, and his comrades to gain more advantageous positions. Pfc. Lauffer was fatally wounded during his selfless act of courage and devotion to his fellow soldiers. His gallantry at the cost of his life served as an inspiration to his comrades and saved the lives of an untold number of his companions. His actions are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the U.S. Army.

Vietnam Veterans Memorial

Billy Lane Lauffer's name is inscribed on Panel 10E - Line 129.

Death and Burial

Private First Class Billy Lane Lauffer was killed in action on 21 September 1966. He is buried at Murray Memorial Gardens in his birth city of Murray, KY, in the Christus Section, Lot 34A.

Honoree ID: 1004   Created by: MHOH




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