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First Name: Michael

Last Name: Crescenz

Birthplace: Philadelphia, PA, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Home of Record: Philadelphia, PA
Middle Name: Joseph

Date of Birth: 14 January 1949

Date of Death: 20 November 1968

Rank: Corporal

Years Served: 1968
Michael Joseph Crescenz

•  Vietnam War (1960 - 1973)


Michael Joseph Crescenz
Corporal, U.S. Army
Medal of Honor Recipient
Vietnam War

Michael Joseph Crescenz (14 January 1949 - 20 November 1968) was a U.S. Army Corporal during the Vietnam War who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions near Hiep Duc Valley in Vietnam on 20 November 1968. Crescenz also received a posthumous promotion to the rank of Corporal. He was the only Philadelphian to receive the Medal of Honor during the Vietnam War.

Crescenz (pronounced with a French inflection) was born on 14 January 1949 in Philadelphia, PA. He graduated from Cardinal Dougherty High School in 1966. He enlisted in the U.S. Army in February 1968. Michael shipped out to Vietnam in September 1968, the same month that his older brother Charles, a U.S. Marine who had served 13 months in Vietnam, was discharged from active duty.

Medal of Honor

Rank and Organization: Corporal, U.S. Army, Company A, 4th Battalion, 31st Infantry, 196th Infantry Brigade, Americal Division.
Place and date: Hiep Duc Valley area, Republic of Vietnam, 20 November 1968.

Entered service at: Philadelphia, PA. Born: 14 January 1949, Philadelphia, PA.

The President of the United States in the name of the Congress of the United States takes pride in presenting the MEDAL OF HONOR posthumously to

Corporal, Army of the United States

for service as set forth in the following CITATION:

Cpl. Crescenz distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action while serving as a rifleman with Company A. In the morning his unit engaged a large, well-entrenched force of the North Vietnamese Army whose initial burst of fire pinned down the lead squad and killed the 2 point men, halting the advance of Company A. Immediately, Cpl. Crescenz left the relative safety of his own position, seized a nearby machine gun and, with complete disregard for his safety, charged 100 meters up a slope toward the enemy's bunkers which he effectively silenced, killing the 2 occupants of each. Undaunted by the withering machine gun fire around him, Cpl. Crescenz courageously moved forward toward a third bunker which he also succeeded in silencing, killing 2 more of the enemy and momentarily clearing the route of advance for his comrades. Suddenly, intense machine gun fire erupted from an unseen, camouflaged bunker. Realizing the danger to his fellow soldiers, Cpl. Crescenz disregarded the barrage of hostile fire directed at him and daringly advanced toward the position. Assaulting with his machine gun, Cpl. Crescenz was within 5 meters of the bunker when he was mortally wounded by the fire from the enemy machine gun. As a direct result of his heroic actions, his company was able to maneuver freely with minimal danger and to complete its mission, defeating the enemy. Cpl. Crescenz's bravery and extraordinary heroism at the cost of his life are in the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit on himself, his unit, and the U.S. Army.

Corporal Michael Joseph Crescenz's Medal of Honor was presented to his family by President Richard M. Nixon in a White House ceremony on 7 April 1970.

Vietnam Veterans Memorial

Corporal Michael Joseph Crescenz's name is inscribed on Panel 38W - Line 016.

Death and Burial

Corporal Michael Joseph Crescenz was survived by his parents and five brothers. He was initially buried at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Cheltenham, PA. In 2008, he was disinterred and reinterred at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, VA.

Honoree ID: 918   Created by: MHOH




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