The first Medal of Honor recipient of the Vietnam War, Donlon was also the first veteran of that war to receive The American Legion's Distinguished Service Medal in 1966.

Quoting the Department of the Army citation, National Commander L. Eldon James said Donlon had "distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his own life above and beyond the call of duty while defending a United States military installation against a fierce attack by hostile forces on 6 July 1964, near Nam Dong, Republic of Vietnam."

He continued, "The American Legion has chosen to make its acknowledgement by honoring a man who, to us, symbolizes all of the brave men our country has sent to Vietnam."

Receiving the medal, Donlon said, "We fought to keep what we have, and sometimes I think it is equally important to share what we have."

As commander of a Special Forces team at Nam Dong, Donlon saw and heard no sign of the Viet Cong that he had strong reason to believe were approaching.

Less than 30 minutes later, a barrage of mortar struck the camp, and a lengthy battle ensued. Donlon wound his way around the camp trying to protect and save his men, but was wounded several times by fire. Outnumbered three to one, Donlon's crew made it through the night with plenty of casualties, but the outpost still intact.

On Dec. 5, 1965, Donlon received the Medal of Honor from President Johnson at a White House ceremony. The hero introduced the nine surviving members of his team, saying, "The medal belongs to them, too."

Promoted to major and then colonel, Donlon served in South Korea, again in Vietnam and then in Thailand. He authored two books about his war experiences, "Outpost of Freedom" and "Beyond Nam Dong." He lives in Kansas with his wife, Norma, and children.

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