THOMAS JAMES KINSMAN - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

THOMAS JAMES KINSMAN

Posted: Updated:

The attack came as PFC Thomas James Kinsman made his way up a narrow canal one afternoon on Feb. 6, 1968, near Vinh Long in the Republic of Vietnam.

He'd been serving as a rifleman with Company B, on a reconnaissance-in-force mission, and was traveling up the canal with his company when they struck. A Viet Cong force ambushed Kinsman's company with rocket fire and automatic weapons, forcing them to beach and fight back.

Upon moving through the dense undergrowth as they fired into the enemy's bunkers, about eight men were cut off from the rest of Company B. Kinsman was among them.

Just as they were trying to reconnect with the other men, navigating through heavy fire, an enemy soldier hiding in the brush threw a grenade into their midst. Without hesitation, Kinsman yelled a warning to his comrades before throwing himself on top of the grenade, absorbing its explosion.

Although he suffered severe head and chest wounds, Kinsman's actions that day saved the lives of seven other men. Only a year later, on May 17, 1969, the White House bestowed Kinsman with the Medal of Honor for his unselfish and courageous heroism he showed that February afternoon.