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First Name: Richard

Last Name: Penry

Birthplace: Petaluma, CA, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Home of Record: Oakland, CA
Middle Name: Allen

Date of Birth: 18 November 1948

Date of Death: 09 May 1994

Rank: Sergeant

Years Served:
Richard Allen Penry

•  Vietnam War (1960 - 1973)


Richard Allen Penry
Sergeant, U.S. Army
Medal of Honor Recipient
Vietnam War

Sergeant Richard Allen Penry (18 November 1948 - 9 May 1994) was a U.S. Army soldier and a recipient of the U.S. military's highest award for valor, the Medal of Honor, for his actions in the Vietnam War.

Richard Allen Penry was born on 18 November 1948 in Petaluma, CA. Penry joined the Army from Oakland, CA. On 31 January 1970, Penry was serving as a Sergeant in Company C, 4th Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 199th Infantry Brigade. On that day, in the Binh Tuy Province of the Republic of Vietnam, his unit came under an intense enemy attack. After the company commander was wounded, Penry helped organize the defense of the area and repeatedly exposed himself to enemy fire to retrieve supplies and return fire. For his heroic actions, he was awarded the Medal of Honor.

Medal of Honor

Rank and organization: Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company C, 4th Battalion, 12th Infantry, 199th Infantry Brigade.

Place and date: Binh Tuy Province, Republic of Vietnam, 31 January 1970.

Entered service at: Oakland, CA. Born: 18 November 1948, Petaluma. CA.

Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Sgt. Penry, Company C, distinguished himself while serving as a rifleman during a night ambush mission. As the platoon was preparing the ambush position, it suddenly came under an intense enemy attack from mortar, rocket, and automatic weapons fire which seriously wounded the company commander and most of the platoon members, leaving small isolated groups of wounded men throughout the area. Sgt. Penry, seeing the extreme seriousness of the situation, worked his way through the deadly enemy fire to the company command post where he administered first aid to the wounded company commander and other personnel. He then moved the command post to a position which provided greater protection and visual communication and control of other platoon elements. Realizing the company radio was damaged and recognizing the urgent necessity to reestablish communications with the battalion headquarters, he ran outside the defensive perimeter through a fusillade of hostile fire to retrieve a radio. Finding it inoperable, Sgt. Penry returned through heavy fire to retrieve 2 more radios. Turning his attention to the defense of the area, he crawled to the edge of the perimeter, retrieved needed ammunition and weapons and resupplied the wounded men. During a determined assault by over 30 enemy soldiers, Sgt. Penry occupied the most vulnerable forward position placing heavy, accurate fire on the attacking enemy and exposing himself several times to throw hand grenades into the advancing enemy troops. He succeeded virtually single-handedly in stopping the attack. Learning that none of the radios were operable, Sgt. Penry again crawled outside the defensive perimeter, retrieved a fourth radio and established communications with higher headquarters. Sgt. Penry then continued to administer first aid to the wounded and repositioned them to better repel further enemy attacks. Despite continuous and deadly sniper fire, he again left the defensive perimeter, moved to within a few feet of enemy positions, located 5 isolated wounded soldiers, and led them to safety. When evacuation helicopters approached, Sgt. Penry voluntarily left the perimeter, set up a guiding beacon, established the priorities for evacuation and successively carried 18 wounded men to the extraction site. After all wounded personnel had been evacuated, Sgt. Penry joined another platoon and assisted in the pursuit of the enemy. Sgt. Penry's extraordinary heroism at the risk of his own life are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit on him, his unit, and the U.S. Army.

Medals and Awards

Medal of Honor
Distinguished Service Cross
Bronze Star Medal
Air Medal


Penry has two namesakes in his hometown: a park that was renamed in his honor, and a small military museum, the Sgt. Richard Penry Medal of Honor Memorial Military Museum, where his Medal of Honor is displayed.

Death and Burial

Sergeant Richard Allen Penry died on 9 May 1994 at age 45. He is buried at Cypress Hill Memorial Park in Petaluma, CA.

Honoree ID: 1049   Created by: MHOH




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