The Marine Corps Medal of Honor Recipients
Featuring Marine Medal of Honor Recipients From WWII-Korea-Viet Nam And Iraqi Freedom
FIRST LIEUTENANT FRANK S. REASONER
UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as CommandingOfficer, Company A, 3d Reconnaissance Battalion, 3d Marine Division in action against hostile Viet Cong forces near Danang, Vietnam on 12 July 1965. The reconnaissance patrol led by First Lieutenant Reasoner had deeply penetrated heavily controlled enemy territory when it came under extremely heavy fire from an estimated 50 to 100 Viet Cong insurgents. Accompanying the advance party and the point that consisted of five men, he immediately deployed his men for an assault after the Viet Cong had opened fire from numerous concealed positions. Boldly shouting encouragement, and virtually isolated from the main body, he organized a base of fire for an assault on the enemy positions. The slashing fury of the Viet Cong machine gun and automatic weapons fire made it impossible for the main body to move forward. Repeatedly exposing himself to the devastating attack he skillfully provided covering fire, killing at least two Viet Cong and effectively silencing an automatic weapons position in a valiant attempt to effect evacuation of a wounded man. As casualties began to mount his radio operator was wounded and First Lieutenant Reasoner immediately moved to his side and tended his wounds. When the radio operator was hit a second time while attempting to reach a covered position, First Lieutenant Reasoner courageously running to his aid through the grazing machine gun fire fell mortally wounded. His indomitable fighting spirit, valiant leadership and unflinching devotion to duty provided the inspiration that was to enable the patrol to complete its mission without further casualties. In the face of almost certain death, he gallantly gave his life in the service of his country. His actions upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.
LYNDON B. JOHNSON
President of the United States
First Lieutenant Frank S. Reasoner, former enlisted Marine and graduate of the U.S. Military Academy, was the second Marine recipient of the Nation’s highest honor, the Medal of Honor for heroism in Vietnam in July 1965. The Medal was presented to his widow on 31 January 1967 by Navy Secretary Paul H. Nitze, in ceremonies held at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.
Frank Stanley Reasoner was born in Spokane, Washington, 16 September 1937, and moved with his parents to Kellogg, Idaho, in 1948. Graduating from Kellogg High School in June 1955, he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps three months before his 18th birthday.
Promoted to private first class after recruit training at the San Diego Recruit Depot in August, he went on to advanced infantry training at Camp Pendleton, California. He was designated an Airborne Radio Operator in 1956 upon completing Airman School, Naval Air Technical Training Center, Jacksonville, Florida, and the Communication Electronics School at San Diego. He was next assigned to Marine Wing Service Group 37, 3d Marine Aircraft Wing, El Toro, California, and while there was promoted to corporal.
He was transferred to the Naval Academy Preparatory School, Bainbridge, Maryland, in 1957, then served as a guard at Marine Barracks, Annapolis, Maryland. He was promoted to sergeant in January 1958, prior to receiving Congressional appointment to the U.S. Military Academy, sponsored by Senator Henry C. Dvorshak of Idaho.
Successfully completing the Academy’s entrance examinations in June 1958, Sgt Reasoner was transferred to the inactive Marine Corps Reserve and enrolled as a cadet. While at the Military Academy, he lettered in baseball and wrestling winning an unprecedented four straight Brigade boxing championships in four different weight classes. Upon graduation, 6 June 1962, he was awarded a BS degree and returned to the Marine Corps as a second lieutenant. He was promoted to first lieutenant in December of the following year.
First Lieutenant Reasoner completed Officers Basic School at Marine Corps Schools, Quantico, Virginia, in January 1963, then embarked for a three-year tour of duty with the Fleet Marine Force in the Pacific area
During his entire overseas tour, he served with the 3d Reconnaissance Battalion. Assigned initially to the 1st Marine Brigade, at Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, he served with Company B, 3d Reconnaissance Battalion, 4th Marines, and moved with his organization to Vietnam in April 1965. On 20 June 1965, he was designated Commanding Officer, Company A, 3d Reconnaissance Battalion, 3d Marine Division, the unit he was with when he was mortally wounded.
A Marine Corps camp in Vietnam was named “Camp Reasoner” and dedicated to his memory. The hand-lettered sign near the gates of Camp Reasoner read: “…First Lieutenant Reasoner sacrificed his life to save one of his wounded Marines. ‘Greater Love Hath No Man’.”