Thomas Patrick Noonan MOH

b. 18/11/1943 Brooklyn, New York. d. 05/02/1969 near Vandegrift Combat Base, A Shau Valley, Vietnam.

DATE OF MOH ACTION: 05/02/1969 near Vandegrift Combat Base, A Shau Valley, Vietnam.

Thomas P Noonan MOH

Noonan was born on November 18, 1943, in Brooklyn, New York. He graduated from Grover Cleveland High School in Ridgewood, New York in June 1961 and attended Hunter College in the Bronx, New York, graduating with a B.A. degree in Physical Education in June 1966. Coincidentally, he grew up with Sergeant Robert Emmett O’Malley, who would also be awarded the Medal of Honor in Vietnam. The two attended school and church together and were friends throughout childhood. After Noonan’s death in Vietnam, O’Malley remained in contact with the Noonan family and visited Noonan’s mother every year on Memorial Day.

He enlisted in the U. S. Marine Corps Reserve in Brooklyn, New York on December 26, 1967, and was subsequently discharged to enlist in the Regular Marine Corps on January 31, 1968.

Private Noonan completed recruit training with the 3rd Recruit Training Battalion, Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, South Carolina in April 1968, and was promoted to private first class on April 1, 1968. Transferred to the Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, he underwent individual combat training with the 1st Battalion, 1st Infantry Training Regiment.

Ordered to the Republic of Vietnam in July 1968, he was assigned duty as mortar man with H&S Company, 2nd Battalion, 27th Marines, 1st Marine Division (Rein), FMF. In August, he was reassigned to the 3rd Marine Division where he saw combat as a rifleman, M-79 Man with Company G, 2nd Battalion, 9th Marines. He was promoted to Lance Corporal on January 1, 1969. Noonan was killed in action on February 5, 1969, while participating in action against the enemy during Operation Dewey Canyon south of Vandegrift Combat Base in Quang Tri Province. 

His family received his posthumous Medal of Honor in East Ballroom of The White House from President Richard M. Nixon on February 16, 1971.



For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a fire team leader with Company G, in operations against the enemy in Quang Tri province. Company G was directed to move from a position which they had been holding southeast of the Vandergrift Combat Base to an alternate location. As the marines commenced a slow and difficult descent down the side of the hill made extremely slippery by the heavy rains, the leading element came under a heavy fire from a North Vietnamese Army unit occupying well-concealed positions in the rocky terrain. Four men were wounded, and repeated attempts to recover them failed because of the intense hostile fire. L/Cpl. Noonan moved from his position of relative security and, maneuvering down the treacherous slope to a location near the injured men, took cover behind some rocks. Shouting words of encouragement to the wounded men to restore their confidence, he dashed across the hazardous terrain and commenced dragging the most seriously wounded man away from the fire-swept area. Although wounded and knocked to the ground by an enemy round, L/Cpl. Noonan recovered rapidly and resumed dragging the man toward the marginal security of a rock. He was, however, mortally wounded before he could reach his destination. His heroic actions inspired his fellow marines to such aggressiveness that they initiated a spirited assault which forced the enemy soldiers to withdraw. L/Cpl. Noonan’s indomitable courage, inspiring initiative, and selfless devotion to duty upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.