Rank Insignia Previous Honoree ID Next Honoree ID

honoree image
First Name: Gordon

Last Name: Yntema

Birthplace: Bethesda, MD, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Home of Record: Detroit, MI
Middle Name: Douglas

Date of Birth: 26 June 1945

Date of Death: 18 January 1968

Rank: Sergeant

Years Served: 1964 - 1968
Gordon Douglas Yntema

•  Vietnam War (1960 - 1973)


Gordon Douglas Yntema
Sergeant, U.S. Army
Medal of Honor Recipient
Vietnam War

Sergeant Gordon Douglas Yntema (26 June 1945 - 18 January 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 during the Vietnam War.

Gordon Douglas Yntema was born on 26 June 1945 in Bethesda, MD. He joined the Army from Detroit, MI after graduating from high school in 1963. On 16 January 1968, he was serving as a Sergeant in Company D of the 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne). On that day near Thong Binh in the Republic of Vietnam, Yntema and the two platoons of irregulars he was with were involved in a heavy firefight with the Viet Cong. After the group's Vietnamese commander was wounded, Yntema led the force for the remainder of the two-day battle as ammunition dwindled and losses mounted. With his position about to be overrun, he refused to abandon his wounded comrades and instead fought to the death. For his heroic actions, he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.

Medal of Honor

Rank and organization: Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company D, 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne).

Place and date: Near Thong Binh, Republic of Vietnam, 16-18 January 1968.

Entered service at: Detroit, MI. Born: 26 June 1945, Bethesda, MD.

Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life and above and beyond the call of duty. Sgt. Yntema, U.S. Army, distinguished himself while assigned to Detachment A-431, Company D. As part of a larger force of civilian irregulars from Camp Cai Cai, he accompanied 2 platoons to a blocking position east of the village of Thong Binh, where they became heavily engaged in a small-arms fire fight with the Viet Cong. Assuming control of the force when the Vietnamese commander was seriously wounded, he advanced his troops to within 50 meters of the enemy bunkers. After a fierce 30 minute fire fight, the enemy forced Sgt. Yntema to withdraw his men to a trench in order to afford them protection and still perform their assigned blocking mission. Under cover of machinegun fire, approximately 1 company of Viet Cong maneuvered into a position which pinned down the friendly platoons from 3 sides. A dwindling ammunition supply, coupled with a Viet Cong mortar barrage which inflicted heavy losses on the exposed friendly troops, caused many of the irregulars to withdraw. Seriously wounded and ordered to withdraw himself, Sgt. Yntema refused to leave his fallen comrades. Under withering small arms and machinegun fire, he carried the wounded Vietnamese commander and a mortally wounded American Special Forces advisor to a small gully 50 meters away in order to shield them from the enemy fire. Sgt. Yntema then continued to repulse the attacking Viet Cong attempting to overrun his position until, out of ammunition and surrounded, he was offered the opportunity to surrender. Refusing, Sgt. Yntema stood his ground, using his rifle as a club to fight the approximately 15 Viet Cong attempting his capture. His resistance was so fierce that the Viet Cong were forced to shoot in order to overcome him. Sgt. Yntema's personal bravery in the face of insurmountable odds and supreme self-sacrifice were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect the utmost credit upon himself, the 1st Special Forces, and the U.S. Army.

Medals and Awards

Medal of Honor
Silver Star Medal
Purple Heart (2)

Vietnam Veterans Memorial

The name Gordon Douglas Yntema is inscribed on Panel 34E, Row 73.


The enlisted club at Fort Bragg, NC is named in his honor.

Death and Burial

Sergeant Gordon Douglas Yntema was killed in action on 18 January 1968. Yntema, aged 22 at his death, is buried at Pilgrim Home Cemetery in Holland, MI.

He and his wife Peggy had three daughters, Jane, Elizabeth, and Julie.

Honoree ID: 1121   Created by: MHOH




Honoree Photos

honoree imagehonoree imagehonoree image

honoree imagehonoree image

honoree image