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First Name: Robert

Last Name: Hartsock

Birthplace: Cumberland, MD, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Home of Record: Fairmont, WV
Middle Name: Williard

Date of Birth: 24 January 1945

Date of Death: 23 February 1969

Rank: Staff Sergeant

Years Served:
Robert Willard Hartsock

•  Vietnam War (1960 - 1973)


Robert W. Hartsock
Staff Sergeant, U.S. Army
Medal of Honor Recipient
Vietnam War

Staff Sergeant Robert Willard Hartsock (24 January 1945 - 23 February 1969) was a U.S. Army soldier and was posthumously awarded the U.S. military's highest award for valor, the Medal of Honor, for his heroic actions in the Vietnam War.

Robert Willard Hartsock was born on 24 January 1945, in Cumberland, MD. He joined the Army from Fairmont, WV. On 23 February 1969, he was serving as a Staff Sergeant in the 44th Infantry Platoon, 3rd Brigade, 25th Infantry Division. During a firefight that day in Hau Nghia Province, Republic of Vietnam, Hartsock covered an enemy satchel charge with his body, to protect those around him, and was mortally wounded in the explosion. For his heroic self-sacrifice, he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.

Medal of Honor

Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. S/Sgt. Hartsock, distinguished himself in action while serving as section leader with the 44th Infantry Platoon. When the Dau Tieng Base Camp came under a heavy enemy rocket and mortar attack, S/Sgt. Hartsock and his platoon commander spotted an enemy sapper squad which had infiltrated the camp undetected. Realizing the enemy squad was heading for the brigade tactical operations center and nearby prisoner compound, they concealed themselves and, although heavily outnumbered, awaited the approach of the hostile soldiers. When the enemy was almost upon them, S/Sgt. Hartsock and his platoon commander opened fire on the squad. As a wounded enemy soldier fell, he managed to detonate a satchel charge he was carrying. S/Sgt. Hartsock, with complete disregard for his life, threw himself on the charge and was gravely wounded. In spite of his wounds, S/Sgt. Hartsock crawled about 5 meters to a ditch and provided heavy suppressive fire, completely pinning down the enemy and allowing his commander to seek shelter. S/Sgt. Hartsock continued his deadly stream of fire until he succumbed to his wounds. S/Sgt. Hartsock's extraordinary heroism and profound concern for the lives of his fellow soldiers were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit on him, his unit, and the U.S. Army.

Medals and Awards

Medal of Honor
Purple Heart

Vietnam Veterans Memorial

Robert Willard Hartsock's name is inscribed on Panel 31W - Line 3.

Death and Burial

Staff Sergeant Robert Willard Hartsock was killed in action on 23 February 1969. He is buried at Rocky Gap Veterans Cemetery in Flintstone, MD.

Honoree ID: 966   Created by: MHOH




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