Lawrence Joel, SP6 (1928 - 1984) MP

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Birthdate:
Birthplace: Winston-Salem, NC, USA
Death: Died
Cause of death: Diabetes
Occupation: 503d Infantry Regiment, 173d Airborne Brigade
Managed by: Marvin Caulk, (C)
Last Updated:

About Lawrence Joel, SP6

Lawrence Joel (February 22, 1928–February 4, 1984) was a United States Army Sergeant First Class who served in the Korean and Vietnam Wars. While serving in Vietnam, as a medic with the rank of Specialist Five assigned to 1st Battalion of the 503rd Infantry Regiment in the 173rd Airborne Brigade, Joel received the Silver Star and the Medal of Honor for his heroism in a battle with the Viet Cong that occurred on November 8, 1965. He was the first living black American to receive this medal since the Spanish-American War in 1898.


He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery Arlington, Virginia. His grave can be found in section 46, lot 15-1

Medal of Honor citation


On March 9, 1967 on the White House lawn, President Lyndon Johnson presented Joel with the Medal of Honor for his service in the Vietnam War. His citation reads as follows:

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty. Sp6c. Joel demonstrated indomitable courage, determination, and professional skill when a numerically superior and well-concealed Viet Cong element launched a vicious attack which wounded or killed nearly every man in the lead squad of the company. After treating the men wounded by the initial burst of gunfire, he bravely moved forward to assist others who were wounded while proceeding to their objective. While moving from man to man, he was struck in the right leg by machine gun fire. Although painfully wounded his desire to aid his fellow soldiers transcended all personal feeling. He bandaged his own wound and self-administered morphine to deaden the pain enabling him to continue his dangerous undertaking. Through this period of time, he constantly shouted words of encouragement to all around him. Then, completely ignoring the warnings of others, and his pain, he continued his search for wounded, exposing himself to hostile fire; and, as bullets dug up the dirt around him, he held plasma bottles high while kneeling completely engrossed in his life saving mission. Then, after being struck a second time and with a bullet lodged in his thigh, he dragged himself over the battlefield and succeeded in treating 13 more men before his medical supplies ran out. Displaying resourcefulness, he saved the life of one man by placing a plastic bag over a severe chest wound to congeal the blood. As 1 of the platoons pursued the Viet Cong, an insurgent force in concealed positions opened fire on the platoon and wounded many more soldiers. With a new stock of medical supplies, Sp6c. Joel again shouted words of encouragement as he crawled through an intense hail of gunfire to the wounded men. After the 24 hour battle subsided and the Viet Cong dead numbered 410, snipers continued to harass the company. Throughout the long battle, Sp6c. Joel never lost sight of his mission as a medical aidman and continued to comfort and treat the wounded until his own evacuation was ordered. His meticulous attention to duty saved a large number of lives and his unselfish, daring example under most adverse conditions was an inspiration to all. Sp6c. Joel's profound concern for his fellow soldiers, at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty are in the highest traditions of the U.S. Army and reflect great credit upon himself and the Armed Forces of his country

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Lawrence Joel, SP6's Timeline

1928
February 22, 1928
Winston-Salem, NC, USA
1984
February 4, 1984
Age 55
????
USA