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First Name: Maximo

Last Name: Yabes

Birthplace: Lodi, CA, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Home of Record: Eugene, OR

Date of Birth: 29 January 1932

Date of Death: 26 February 1967

Rank: First Sergeant

Years Served: 1950-1967
Maximo Yabes

•  Vietnam War (1960 - 1973)


Maximo Yabes
First Sergeant, U.S. Army
Medal of Honor Recipient
Vietnam War

First Sergeant Maximo Yabes (29 January 1932 - 26 February 1967) was a U.S. Army soldier who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor, the U.S. military's highest award for valor, for his heroic actions during the Vietnam War.

Maximo Yabes was born 29 January 1932 in Lodi, CA, and at a young age moved with his family to Oakridge, OR where he received his primary and secondary education. In 1950, he dropped out of Oakridge High School and joined the U.S. Army.

By 1967, Yabes was a First Sergeant with a total of 15 years in the Army. He was assigned to Company A, 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry, of the 25th Infantry Division which was serving in the Republic of Vietnam. The division had been stationed at Cu Chi, a village northwest of Saigon since January 1966.

Yabes' company - Alpha Company - was assigned to protect a squad of Army engineers whose assignment was to bulldoze a swath between the village and a plantation. The objective of this assignment was to deny the enemy ambushers and snipers the protective cover of the lush jungles.

On 26 February 1967, waves of Viet Cong attacked Company A's position, blowing whistles and laying down deadly automatic weapons fire. The Viet Cong, who penetrated the barbed wire perimeter, hurled grenades towards the command bunker. Yabes ran inside the bunker and covered its occupants with his body, all the while receiving wounds from numerous grenade fragments. Yabes then moved to another bunker and with a grenade launcher fired upon the enemy, halting a further penetration of the perimeter. Yabes then assisted two fallen comrades before he noticed an enemy machinegun within the perimeter which threatened the whole position. Yabes then proceeded to attack the enemy machine gun crew. He was able to kill the entire crew before falling mortally wounded. For his heroic actions, he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.

Medal of Honor

Rank and organization: First Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company A, 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry, 25th Infantry Division.

Place and date: Near Phu Hoa Dong, Republic of Vietnam, 26 February 1967.

Entered service at: Eugene, OR. Born: January 29, 1932, Lodi, CA.

Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. 1st Sgt. Yabes distinguished himself with Company A, which was providing security for a land clearing operation. Early in the morning the company suddenly came under intense automatic weapons and mortar fire followed by a battalion sized assault from 3 sides. Penetrating the defensive perimeter the enemy advanced on the company command post bunker. The command post received increasingly heavy fire and was in danger of being overwhelmed. When several enemy grenades landed within the command post, 1st Sgt. Yabes shouted a warning and used his body as a shield to protect others in the bunker. Although painfully wounded by numerous grenade fragments, and despite the vicious enemy fire on the bunker, he remained there to provide covering fire and enable the others in the command group to relocate. When the command group had reached a new position, 1st Sgt. Yabes moved through a withering hail of enemy fire to another bunker 50 meters away. There he secured a grenade launcher from a fallen comrade and fired point blank into the attacking Viet Cong stopping further penetration of the perimeter. Noting 2 wounded men helpless in the fire swept area, he moved them to a safer position where they could be given medical treatment. He resumed his accurate and effective fire killing several enemy soldiers and forcing others to withdraw from the vicinity of the command post. As the battle continued, he observed an enemy machinegun within the perimeter which threatened the whole position. On his own, he dashed across the exposed area, assaulted the machinegun, killed the crew, destroyed the weapon, and fell mortally wounded. 1st Sgt. Yabes' valiant and selfless actions saved the lives of many of his fellow soldiers and inspired his comrades to effectively repel the enemy assault. His indomitable fighting spirit, extraordinary courage and intrepidity at the cost of his life are in the highest military traditions and reflect great credit upon himself and the Armed Forces of his country.

President Lyndon B. Johnson presented First Sergeant Yabes' wife and children with his Medal of Honor in a ceremony held at the White House.

Medals and Awards

Medal of Honor
Purple Heart
National Defense Service Medal
Vietnam Service Medal with Bronze Star
Vietnam Campaign Medal
Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm Streamer

Combat Infantryman Badge
Parachutist Badge

Vietnam Veterans Memorial

The name Maximo Yabes is inscribed on Panel 15E, Line 102.


• Dozens of individuals, businesses and organizations in Oakridge, OR, donated time, money, labor and supplies to build a memorial to honor Yabes. They hired sculptor Tim Outman to create the memorial which features a fountain, a flag pole and a bronze bust with the likeness of Yabes set on a granite pedestal. Engraved on the base are the details of Yabes' Medal of Honor exploits. The memorial is located in Oakridge in the Greenwaters Park. Greenwaters Park is located on the east side of Oakridge, south of highway 58.

• The city of El Paso, TX, also honored Yabes by naming an avenue after him.

Death and Burial

First Sergeant Maximo Yabes was killed in action on 26 February 1967. He was buried with full military honors at Fort Logan National Cemetery in Denver, CO.

Origin of Nickname/Handle:
Shortened version of his first name.

Honoree ID: 1119   Created by: MHOH




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