Medic Who Earned Medal of Honor in Vietnam Dies

Medic Who Earned Medal of Honor in Vietnam Dies

Portrait of a soldier
Photo by: U.S. Army

Clarence Sasser, who received the Medal of Honor for saving his fellow soldiers’ lives in Vietnam, died May 13. He was 76.

In January 1968, then-Pfc. Sasser was a medical aidman with 3rd Battalion, 60th Infantry, 9th Infantry Division, when his unit was sent on an assault in Ding Tuong Province, Vietnam, according to the Congressional Medal of Honor Society.

The soldiers came under heavy fire, and more than 30 men were wounded in just a few minutes. Sasser jumped into action, running across open rice paddies to tend to the wounded, according to his Medal of Honor citation. An exploding rocket blasted shrapnel into Sasser’s left shoulder, but he continued taking care of the wounded, the citation says.

“Refusing medical attention, he ran through a barrage of rocket and automatic-weapons fire to aid casualties of the initial attack and, after giving them urgently needed treatment, continued to search for other wounded,” according to the citation.

Sasser was wounded twice more, immobilizing his legs. “He dragged himself through the mud toward another soldier 100 meters away,” the citation says. “Although in agonizing pain and faint from loss of blood, … Sasser reached the man, treated him, and proceeded on to encourage another group of soldiers to crawl 200 meters to relative safety.”

He would continue to care for the wounded for five hours until they were evacuated, the citation says.

President Richard Nixon presented Sasser with the Medal of Honor on March 7, 1969.

“It was confirmation to me that I did my job, and that’s how I had to deal with it, because what’s my job? I don’t think what I did was above and beyond. I never have,” Sasser said upon receiving the nation’s highest award for valor, according to the Congressional Medal of Honor Society.

Sasser was born in September 1947 in Chenango, Texas. After leaving the Army, he completed the studies he had started prior to being drafted and earned a degree in chemistry, according to the Congressional Medal of Honor Society. He worked for an oil refinery before leaving to work for the Veterans Administration.