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First Name: William

Last Name: Port

Birthplace: Petersburg, PA, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Home of Record: Harrisburg, PA
Middle Name: David

Date of Birth: 31 October 1941

Date of Death: 27 November 1968

Rank: Sergeant

Years Served:
William David Port

•  Vietnam War (1960 - 1973)


William David Port
Sergeant, U.S. Army
Medal of Honor Recipient
Vietnam War

Sergeant William David Port (31 October 1941 - 27 November 1968) 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.

William David Port was born on 31 October 1941 in Petersburg, PA. He joined the Army from Harrisburg, PA. On 12 January 1968, Port was serving as a Private First Class in Company C, 5th Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Air Cavalry Division. During a firefight that day in the Que Son Valley, Quang Tin Province, Republic of Vietnam, he rescued a wounded comrade and then covered the blast of an enemy-thrown grenade with his body to protect other soldiers. Port survived the blast, but was seriously wounded and captured by the enemy. He died while a prisoner of war ten months later. Port was promoted to Sergeant and posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions during the battle.

Medal of Honor

Rank and organization: Sergeant (then Pfc.), U.S. Army, Company C, 5th Battalion, 7th Cavalry, 1st Air Cavalry Division.

Place and date: Que Son Valley, Heip Duc Province, Republic of Vietnam, 12 January 1968.

Entered service at: Harrisburg, PA. Born: 13 October 1941, Petersburg, PA.

Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Sgt. Port distinguished himself while serving as a rifleman with Company C, which was conducting combat operations against an enemy force in the Que Son Valley. As Sgt. Port's platoon was moving to cut off a reported movement of enemy soldiers, the platoon came under heavy fire from an entrenched enemy force. The platoon was forced to withdraw due to the intensity and ferocity of the fire. Although wounded in the hand as the withdrawal began, Sgt. Port, with complete disregard for his safety, ran through the heavy fire to assist a wounded comrade back to the safety of the platoon perimeter. As the enemy forces assaulted in the perimeter, Sgt. Port and 3 comrades were in position behind an embankment when an enemy grenade landed in their midst. Sgt. Port, realizing the danger to his fellow soldiers, shouted the warning, "Grenade," and unhesitatingly hurled himself towards the grenade to shield his comrades from the explosion. Through his exemplary courage and devotion he saved the lives of his fellow soldiers and gave the members of his platoon the inspiration needed to hold their position. Sgt. Port's selfless concern for his comrades, at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty are in keeping with the highest tradition of the military service and reflect great credit on himself, his unit, and the U.S. Army.

Sergeant William David Port's Medal of Honor was presented to his widow by President Richard Nixon on 6 August 1970. 

Vietnam Veterans Memorial

William D. Port's name is inscribed on Panel 34E - Line 39.


In Huntingdon, PA, there is a bridge across the Juniata River named after William Port. A plaque describes his heroism.

Tribute from fellow soldier Steve Loving: "Bill was drafted at a much older age than most of us kids - we were mostly 18 or 19 and even the officers were in their early 20's. Bill was in his late 20's. While most of us always seemed to have something to gripe about, I can never recall Bill saying anything negative. He was a quiet, private guy and he led his life that way-with quiet dignity. That dreadful day in January is a day that our platoon will never forget, and many of us are able to celebrate life because of Bill's sacrifice. He will never be forgotten by any of us who served with him."

Death and Burial

William David Port was seriously wounded and taken prisoner on 12 January 1968. He died while a Prisoner of War on 27 November 1968. His body was buried in a common grave in the jungle with eight other POWs. His remains were located by a U.S. team working with the Vietnamese government in August 1985. In October 1985, his remains were positively identified and returned to the United States for burial. Port, aged 27 at his death, was buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, VA, in Section 7-8120-B.

Honoree ID: 1059   Created by: MHOH




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