Hammett L. Bowen, Jr.
(November 30, 1947 – June 27, 1969) was a United States Army
soldier and a recipient of the United States military's highest decoration—the Medal of Honor
—for his actions in the Vietnam War
Bowen joined the Army from Jacksonville, Florida
, and by June 27, 1969 was serving as a Staff Sergeant
in Company C, 2d Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment
, 25th Infantry Division
. On that day, in Binh Duong Province
, Republic of Vietnam
, Bowen smothered the blast of an enemy-thrown hand grenade
with his body, sacrificing himself to protect those around him.
Bowen, aged 21 at his death, was buried at Restlawn Memory Gardens in his birth city of LaGrange, Georgia.
Medal of Honor citation
Staff Sergeant Bowen's official Medal of Honor citation reads:
- S/Sgt. Bowen distinguished himself while serving as a platoon sergeant during combat operations in Binh Duong Province, Republic of Vietnam. S/Sgt. Bowen's platoon was advancing on a reconnaissance mission into enemy controlled terrain when it came under the withering crossfire of small arms and grenades from an enemy ambush force. S/Sgt. Bowen placed heavy suppressive fire on the enemy positions and ordered his men to fall back. As the platoon was moving back, an enemy grenade was thrown amid S/Sgt. Bowen and 3 of his men. Sensing the danger to his comrades, S/Sgt. Bowen shouted a warning to his men and hurled himself on the grenade, absorbing the explosion with his body while saving the lives of his fellow soldiers. S/Sgt. Bowen's extraordinary courage and concern for his men at the cost of his life served as an inspiration to his comrades and are in the highest traditions of the military service and the U.S. Army.