FRANK A. HERDA - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

FRANK A. HERDA

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It was night in the Quang Trang Province of Vietnam, June 29, 1968, when PFC Frank Herda would make the decision of a lifetime.

While serving as a grenadier with Company A, he stood part of a battalion-sized defensive perimeter. And it was during this moment, when the enemy struck, out of darkness.

To distract Herda's company, a portion of the enemy force began firing to the west, allowing a smaller group of about 30 men—strapped with hand grenades—to attack their perimeter from the east. They launched assault after assault, and before long, Herda saw five enemy fighters charging toward him and two other comrades—one which lay wounded at the bottom of a foxhole.

Herda fired at the men until they came within just 10 feet of his position. That's when he noticed the grenade; it had landed at the bottom of their foxhole, where his wounded comrade lay.

Using his grenade launcher, Herda fired one last round, slamming one of the enemy fighters in the head. Then, without hesitation, Herda threw himself into the foxhole and cradled the grenade, absorbing the blast into his body and saving his two comrades.

The grenade's explosion wounded him seriously, but it did not take Herda's life. His actions also allowed the other defender to kill the other enemy fighters.

Two years later, on May 14, 1970, the White House issued the Medal of Honor to Herda "for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty."