b. 13/09/1947 Cleveland, Ohio. d. 13/10/2023 Cleveland, Ohio.
DATE OF MOH ACTION: 29/06/1968 near Dak To, Vietnam.
Frank Herda was born in Cleveland, Ohio on September 13, 1947. He attended Parma Senior High School, graduating in 1966. Soon after high school, at the tender age of 20, he served his country in Vietnam attaining the rank of U.S. Army Specialist Fourth Class. While serving in the 1st Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division, he became an American hero and, subsequently was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor on June 29, 1968 – our nation’s highest award for valor. He attended a White House ceremony on May 14, 1970, where President Richard Nixon conferred the award.
On June 29, 1968, near Dak To in Quang Trang Province, his company was hit by a night attack from enemy sappers armed with hand grenades and small charges. Herda fired at the aggressors until they were within 10 feet of his position and one of their grenades landed in his foxhole. He fired one last round from his grenade launcher, hitting an enemy soldier, and then, with no concern for his own safety, Specialist Four Herda immediately covered the blast of the grenade with his body. The explosion wounded him grievously, but his selfless action prevented his two comrades from being seriously injured or killed and enabled the remaining defenders to stop the attack.
Following his service, Sp4c. Herda attended Cuyahoga Community College’s western campus, then served a 33-year career as a systems analyst for the U.S. Department of Defense in Cleveland. He had an avid interest in science fiction since a child and in 2007 published the sword and sorcery novel, “The Cup of Death: Chronicles of the Dragons of the Magi.” He lived in retirement in Parma Heights, Ohio. Frank Herda died on October 13, 2023 aged 76.
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Sp4c. Herda (then Pfc.) distinguished himself while serving as a grenadier with Company A. Company A was part of a battalion-size night defensive perimeter when a large enemy force initiated an attack on the friendly units. While other enemy elements provided diversionary fire and indirect weapons fire to the west, a sapper force of approximately 30 men armed with hand grenades and small charges attacked Company A’s perimeter from the east. As the sappers were making a last, violent assault, five of them charged the position defended by Sp4c. Herda and two comrades, one of whom was wounded and lay helpless in the bottom of the foxhole. Sp4c. Herda fired at the aggressors until they were within 10 feet of his position and one of their grenades landed in the foxhole. He fired one last round from his grenade launcher, hitting one of the enemy soldiers in the head, and then, with no concern for his safety, Sp4c. Herda immediately covered the blast of the grenade with his body. The explosion wounded him grievously, but his selfless action prevented his two comrades from being seriously injured or killed and enabled the remaining defender to kill the other sappers. By his gallantry at the risk of his life in the highest traditions of the military service, Sp4c. Herda has reflected great credit on himself, his unit, and the U.S. Army.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: FAMILY.