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First Name: Kern

Last Name: Dunagan

Birthplace: Superior, AZ, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Home of Record: Los Angeles, CA
Middle Name: Wayne

Date of Birth: 20 February 1934

Date of Death: 07 December 1991

Rank: Colonel

Years Served:
Kern Wayne Dunagan

•  Vietnam War (1960 - 1973)


Kern Wayne Dunagan
Colonel, U.S. Army
Medal of Honor Recipient
Vietnam War

Colonel Kern W. Dunagan (20 February 1934 - 7 December 1991) was a U.S. Army officer and a recipient of the U.S. military's highest award for valor, the Medal of Honor, for his heroic actions in the Vietnam War.

Dunagan was born on 20 February 1934, at Superior, AZ. He joined the U.S. Army from Los Angeles, CA, and on 13 May 1969 was serving as a Captain in Company A, 1st Battalion, 46th Infantry Regiment, Americal Division. During a firefight on that day in Quang Tin Province, Republic of Vietnam, Dunagan showed conspicuous leadership as he organized his men and rescued wounded soldiers despite his own wounds. He was subsequently promoted to Major and awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions.

Medal of Honor

Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Maj. (then Capt.) Dunagan distinguished himself during the period 13 and 14 May 1969, while serving as commanding officer, Company A. On 13 May 1969, Maj. Dunagan was leading an attack to relieve pressure on the battalion's forward support base when his company came under intense fire from a well-entrenched enemy battalion. Despite continuous hostile fire from a numerically superior force, Maj. Dunagan repeatedly and fearlessly exposed himself in order to locate enemy positions, direct friendly supporting artillery, and position the men of his company. In the early evening, while directing an element of his unit into perimeter guard, he was seriously wounded during an enemy mortar attack, but he refused to leave the battlefield and continued to supervise the evacuation of dead and wounded and to lead his command in the difficult task of disengaging from an aggressive enemy. In spite of painful wounds and extreme fatigue, Maj. Dunagan risked heavy fire on 2 occasions to rescue critically wounded men. He was again seriously wounded. Undaunted, he continued to display outstanding courage, professional competence, and leadership and successfully extricated his command from its untenable position on the evening of 14 May. Having maneuvered his command into contact with an adjacent friendly unit, he learned that a 6-man party from his company was under fire and had not reached the new perimeter. Maj. Dunagan unhesitatingly went back and searched for his men. Finding 1 soldier critically wounded, Maj. Dunagan, ignoring his wounds, lifted the man to his shoulders and carried him to the comparative safety of the friendly perimeter. Before permitting himself to be evacuated, he insured all of his wounded received emergency treatment and were removed from the area. Throughout the engagement, Maj. Dunagan's actions gave great inspiration to his men and were directly responsible for saving the lives of many of his fellow soldiers. Maj. Dunagan's extraordinary heroism above and beyond the call of duty, are in the highest traditions of the U.S. Army and reflect great credit on him, his unit, and the U.S. Army.

Kern W. Dunagan reached the rank of Colonel before leaving the Army.

Medals and Awards

Medal of Honor
Silver Star Medal
Bronze Star Medal
Purple Heart with Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster
National Defense Service Medal
Vietnam Service Medal with 3 Bronze Service Stars
Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Bronze Star
Vietnam Campaign Medal
Combat Infantryman Badge
Parachutist Badge
Pathfinder Badge

Death and Burial

Colonel Kern W. Dunagan died on 7 December 1991, at age 57. He is buried at San Francisco National Cemetery in San Francisco, CA, in Section WS, Plot 117-I.

Honoree ID: 933   Created by: MHOH




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