James William Robinson Jnr MOH

b. 30/08/1940 Hinsdale, Illinois. d. 11/04/1966 Vietnam.

DATE OF MOH ACTION: 11/04/1966 Vietnam.

James W Robinson MOH

Robinson was born August 30, 1940, in Hinsdale, Illinois, to parents James Sr. and Ethel Robinson, but he was raised in nearby Lyons, Illinois, with his younger brother, Tom, and sister Joan.

Robinson was known to be a bright, pleasant boy who loved animals and became interested in health and fitness at a young age. As he grew up, he started to appreciate literature and wanted to become a writer, according to a letter from his father that was published online.

Robinson went to Morton West High School and played football before leaving to join the Marines in 1958. Much of his time in the service was spent in Okinawa, where he earned a black belt in karate.

When his enlistment expired, Robinson returned to civilian life. Several newspapers said he finished high school and enrolled in Morton Junior College. He eventually moved to Annandale, Virginia, where his father had moved after his parents split up. There, Robinson used his karate knowledge to operate a school for self-defense, Army documents show.

As U.S. involvement in Vietnam expanded, Robinson really wanted to do his part. He decided to enlist again in December 1963, but this time, he joined the Army. Robinson was initially deployed to Panama, but he wanted to fight in Vietnam so much that he consistently requested a transfer to the war zone until it was finally granted. In July 1965, Robinson shipped off to Vietnam, where he was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 16th Infantry, 1st Infantry Division based in Saigon.

By the spring of 1966, the battalion was part of Operation Abilene, which had a mission to search out and destroy enemy base camps and supply caches that had been set up in preparation for an attack on the capital.

On April 11, 1966, Robinson was part of Company C when it walked directly into an ambush set up by a Viet Cong battalion about 40 miles east of Saigon. At the time, the company was already light on men due to leave and injury, Army records showed. The heavy fire they were taking from all sides quickly started to decimate their numbers further. They tried to take cover, but it was hard in the dense jungle, where enemy snipers hidden in trees were able to easily spot them. Two other companies were supposed to back them up but had lost track of them in the jungle’s dense foliage.

According to a 2019 Dupage County Chronicle article, at some point in the afternoon, Air Force pararescuemen had been able to cut a hole in the dense jungle canopy to repel down and airlift out about a dozen wounded men. But as the choppers flew away, intense enemy machine gun fire rained down on those who remained.

Despite the chaos, Robinson moved confidently among the men to instruct and inspire them, and to put them into strategic positions. Eventually, Robinson located one of the snipers who was inflicting the heaviest casualties. He grabbed a grenade launcher and successfully took that man out.

Soon after, Robinson watched as a nearby medic was hit while giving aid to another soldier. He knew the two men were now at the mercy of the enemy, so he ran through a hail of gunfire to grab them and drag them to safety, where he gave them both aid to help save their lives.

As casualties mounted and day turned into night, Robinson moved around under intense fire to collect weapons and ammunition from the wounded to redistribute them to soldiers who could still use them.

When another man went down in front of him, Robinson again ran out into enemy fire to bring him to safety. This time, though, he was hit in the shoulder and leg. Despite the pain, Robinson dragged his comrade to shelter and also gave him life-saving aid.

As he was patching up his own wounds, Robinson noticed one of the enemy machine guns that had been inflicting severe casualties on his men. He’d run out of ammo for his rifle, but he was determined to end its reign of terror, so he grabbed two grenades and charged at the entrenched enemy weapon.

As he did so, he got hit in the leg with a tracer round, which set fire to his clothing. Robison ripped off the flaming clothes and continued forward anyway. The enemy was now solely focused on him, and they shot him twice in the chest with a .50-caliber machine gun. Before Robinson lost strength, he was close enough to the gun that he was able to throw the two grenades into the entrenchment.

As the grenades exploded, destroying the enemy position, Robinson died where he had fallen. He was 25.  His posthumous Medal of Honor was presented to his family by Secretary of the Army Stanley R. Resor at The Pentagon on July 16, 1967.



For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Company C was engaged in fierce combat with a Viet Cong battalion. Despite the heavy fire, Sgt. Robinson moved among the men of his fire team, instructing and inspiring them, and placing them in advantageous positions. Enemy snipers located in nearby trees were inflicting heavy casualties on forward elements of Sgt. Robinson’s unit. Upon locating the enemy sniper whose fire was taking the heaviest toll, he took a grenade launcher and eliminated the sniper. Seeing a medic hit while administering aid to a wounded sergeant in front of his position and aware that now the two wounded men were at the mercy of the enemy, he charged through a withering hail of fire and dragged his comrades to safety, where he rendered first aid and saved their lives. As the battle continued and casualties mounted, Sgt. Robinson moved about under intense fire to collect from the wounded their weapons and ammunition and redistribute them to able-bodied soldiers. Adding his fire to that of his men, he assisted in eliminating a major enemy threat. Seeing another wounded comrade in front of his position, Sgt. Robinson again defied the enemy’s fire to effect a rescue. In so doing he was himself wounded in the shoulder and leg. Despite his painful wounds, he dragged the soldier to shelter and saved his life by administering first aid. While patching his own wounds, he spotted an enemy machine gun which had inflicted a number of casualties on the American force. His rifle ammunition expended, he seized two grenades and, in an act of unsurpassed heroism, charged toward the entrenched enemy weapon. Hit again in the leg, this time with a tracer round which set fire to his clothing, Sgt. Robinson ripped the burning clothing from his body and staggered indomitably through the enemy fire, now concentrated solely on him, to within grenade range of the enemy machine-gun position. Sustaining two additional chest wounds, he marshalled his fleeting physical strength and hurled the two grenades, thus destroying the enemy gun position, as he fell dead upon the battlefield. His magnificent display of leadership and bravery saved several lives and inspired his soldiers to defeat the numerically superior enemy force. Sgt. Robinson’s conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity, at the cost of his life, are in keeping with the finest traditions of the U.S. Army and reflect great credit upon the 1st Infantry Division and the U.S. Armed Forces.