Gordon Yntema


For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life and above and beyond the call of duty. Sgt. Yntema, U.S. Army, distinguished himself on 16-18 January 1968, while advising civilian irregulars from Camp Cai Cai. Sergeant Yntema accompanied two platoons to a blocking position east of the Village of Thong Binh. They became heavily engaged in a fire fight with the Viet Cong. Assuming control of the force when the Vietnamese commander was seriously wounded, Sergeant Yntema advanced his troops to within 50 meters of the enemy bunkers. After a fierce fire fight, Sergeant Yntema withdrew his men to a trench which offered them protection while still allowing them to perform their blocking mission. Under the cover of machine gun fire, a company of Viet Cong maneuvered into a position effectively surrounding Yntema's platoons on three sides. A dwindling ammunition supply, coupled with a Viet Cong mortar barrage which inflicted heavy losses on the exposed position, prompted many of the South Vietnamese troops to withdraw. Seriously wounded and ordered to withdraw himself, Sergeant Yntema refused to leave his fallen comrades. Under withering small arms and machine gun fire, he carried the wounded Vietnamese commander and a mortally wounded American Special Forces advisor to a small gully 50 meters away to shield them from the enemy fire. Sergeant Yntema continued to repulse the attacking Viet Cong during their attempts to overrun his position until, out of ammunition and surrounded, he was offered the opportunity to surrender. Refusing, Sergeant Yntema stood his ground, using his rifle as a club to fight the approximately fifteen Viet Cong attempting his capture. His resistance was so fierce that the Viet Cong were forced to shoot him in order to overcome him.