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First Name: John

Last Name: Holcomb

Birthplace: Baker, OR, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Home of Record: Corvallis, OR
Middle Name: Noble

Date of Birth: 11 June 1946

Date of Death: 03 December 1968

Rank: Sergeant

Years Served:
John Noble Holcomb

•  Vietnam War (1960 - 1973)


John Noble Holcomb
Sergeant, U.S. Army
Medal of Honor Recipient
Vietnam War

Sergeant John Noble Holcomb (11 June 1946 - 3 December 1968) 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 actions in the Vietnam War.

John Noble Holcomb was born on 11 June 1946, in Baker, OR. He joined the Army from Corvallis, OR. On 3 December 1968, he was serving as a Sergeant in Company D, 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division. During an enemy attack that day near Quan Loi in the Republic of Vietnam, Holcomb led his squad and later his platoon (after all other platoon leaders had been killed), in the defense of their position. Holcomb was mortally wounded during the battle and was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his leadership.

Medal of Honor

Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Sgt. Holcomb distinguished himself while serving as a squad leader in Company D during a combat assault mission. Sgt. Holcomb's company assault had landed by helicopter and deployed into a hasty defensive position to organize for a reconnaissance-in-force mission when it was attacked from 3 sides by an estimated battalion-size enemy force. Sgt. Holcomb's squad was directly in the path of the main enemy attack. With complete disregard for the heavy fire, Sgt. Holcomb moved among his men giving encouragement and directing fire on the assaulting enemy. When his machine gunner was knocked out, Sgt. Holcomb seized the weapon, ran to a forward edge of the position, and placed withering fire on the enemy. His gallant actions caused the enemy to withdraw. Sgt. Holcomb treated and carried his wounded to a position of safety and reorganized his defensive sector despite a raging grass fire ignited by the incoming enemy mortar and rocket rounds. When the enemy assaulted the position a second time, Sgt. Holcomb again manned the forward machine gun, devastating the enemy attack and forcing the enemy to again break contact and withdraw. During the enemy withdrawal an enemy rocket hit Sgt. Holcomb's position, destroying his machine gun and severely wounding him. Despite his painful wounds, Sgt. Holcomb crawled through the grass fire and exploding mortar and rocket rounds to move the members of his squad, everyone of whom had been wounded, to more secure positions. Although grievously wounded and sustained solely by his indomitable will and courage, Sgt. Holcomb as the last surviving leader of his platoon organized his men to repel the enemy, crawled to the platoon radio and reported the third enemy assault on his position. His report brought friendly supporting fires on the charging enemy and broke the enemy attack. Sgt. Holcomb's inspiring leadership, fighting spirit, in action at the cost of his life were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit on himself, his unit, and the U.S. Army.

Vietnam Veterans Memorial

John Noble Holcomb's name is inscribed on Panel 37W - Line 32.

Death and Burial

Sergeant John Noble Holcomb was killed in action on 3 December 1968. He is buried at Eagle Valley Cemetery in Richland, OR.

Honoree ID: 970   Created by: MHOH




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