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First Name: Delbert

Last Name: Jennings

Birthplace: Silver City, NM, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Home of Record: San Francisco, CA
Middle Name: Owen

Date of Birth: 23 July 1936

Date of Death: 16 March 2003

Rank: Command Sergeant Major

Years Served:
Delbert Owen Jennings

•  Vietnam War (1960 - 1973)


Delbert Owen Jennings
Command Sergeant Major, U.S. Army
Medal of Honor Recipient
Vietnam War

Command Sergeant Major Delbert Owen Jennings (23 July 1936 - 16 March 2003) was a U.S. Army soldier and a recipient of the U.S. military's highest award for valor, the Medal of Honor, for his actions in the Vietnam War.

Delbert Owen Jennings was born on 23 July 1936, at Silver City, NM. He joined the Army at San Francisco, CA. On 27 December 1966, he was serving as a Staff Sergeant in Company C, 1st Battalion (Airborne), 12th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Air Cavalry Division. On that day in the Kim Song Valley in the Republic of Vietnam, Jennings' unit came under heavy enemy attack. For his actions during the battle, he was awarded the Medal of Honor.

Jennings reached the rank of Command Sergeant Major before leaving the Army.

Medal of Honor

Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty. Part of Company C was defending an artillery position when attacked by a North Vietnamese Army regiment supported by mortar, recoilless-rifle, and machine gun fire. At the outset, S/Sgt. Jennings sprang to his bunker, astride the main attack route, and slowed the on-coming enemy wave with highly effective machine gun fire. Despite a tenacious defense in which he killed at least 12 of the enemy, his squad was forced to the rear. After covering the withdrawal of the squad, he rejoined his men, destroyed an enemy demolition crew about to blow up a nearby howitzer, and killed 3 enemy soldiers at his initial bunker position. Ordering his men back into a secondary position, he again covered their withdrawal, killing 1 enemy with the butt of his weapon. Observing that some of the defenders were unaware of an enemy force in their rear, he raced through a fire-swept area to warn the men, turn their fire on the enemy, and lead them into the secondary perimeter. Assisting in the defense of the new position, he aided the air-landing of reinforcements by throwing white phosphorus grenades on the landing zone despite dangerously silhouetting himself with the light. After helping to repulse the final enemy assaults, he led a group of volunteers well beyond friendly lines to an area where 8 seriously wounded men lay. Braving enemy sniper fire and ignoring the presence of booby traps in the area, they recovered the 8 men who would have probably perished without early medical treatment. S/Sgt. Jenning's extraordinary heroism and inspirational leadership saved the lives of many of his comrades and contributed greatly to the defeat of a superior enemy force. His actions stand with the highest traditions of the military profession and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the U.S. Army.

Delbert Owen Jennings' Medal of Honor was presented to him at the White House by President Lyndon B. Johnson on 19 September 1968.

Death and Burial

Command Sergeant Major Delbert Owen Jennings died at age 66 and was buried in the "Punchbowl" in Hawaii. He was later re-interred at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, VA, in Section 7A, Lot 157.

Honoree ID: 982   Created by: MHOH




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