Sgt. Gordon Yntema, Medal of Honor

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Gordon Douglas Yntema

Birthdate: (22)
Birthplace: Bethesda, Maryland, USA
Death: January 19, 1968 (22)
Saigon, South Vietnam (KIA)
Place of Burial: Holland, Ottawa, Michigan, USA
Immediate Family:

Son of Dwight Baldwin Yntema, MD and Cynthia Oakley Yntema
Husband of Margaret - Peggy Yntema
Brother of David Yntema

Managed by: Shirley Marie Caulk
Last Updated:

About Sgt. Gordon Yntema, Medal of Honor

The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pride in presenting the Medal of Honor (Posthumously) to Sergeant Gordon Douglas Yntema (ASN: 16764592), United States Army, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving with Detachment A-431, Company D, 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), 1st Special Forces, in action against enemy aggressor forces in the Republic of Vietnam, from 16 to 18 January 1968. As part of a larger force of civilian irregulars from Camp Cai Cai, Sergeant Yntema accompanied two platoons to a blocking position east of the village of Thong Binh, where they became heavily engaged in a small-arms fire fight with the Viet Cong. Assuming control of the force when the Vietnamese commander was seriously wounded, he advanced his troops to within 50 meters of the enemy bunkers.

After a fierce 30 minute fire fight, the enemy forced Sergeant Yntema to withdraw his men to a trench in order to afford them protection and still perform their assigned blocking mission. Under cover of machinegun fire, approximately one company of Viet Cong maneuvered into a position which pinned down the friendly platoons from three sides. A dwindling ammunition supply, coupled with a Viet Cong mortar barrage which inflicted heavy losses on the exposed friendly troops, caused many of the irregulars to withdraw. Seriously wounded and ordered to withdraw himself, Sergeant Yntema refused to leave his fallen comrades. Under withering small arms and machinegun fire, he carried the wounded Vietnamese commander and a mortally wounded American Special Forces advisor to a small gully 50 meters away in order to shield them from the enemy fire. Sergeant Yntema then continued to repulse the attacking Viet Cong attempting to overrun his position until, out of ammunition and surrounded, he was offered the opportunity to surrender. Refusing, Sergeant Yntema stood his ground, using his rifle as a club to fight the approximately 15 Viet Cong attempting his capture. His resistance was so fierce that the Viet Cong were forced to shoot in order to overcome him. Sergeant Yntema's personal bravery in the face of insurmountable odds and supreme self-sacrifice were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect the utmost credit upon himself, the 1st Special Forces, and the United States Army.

General Orders: Department of the Army, General Orders No. 76 (December 3, 1969)

Action Date: January 16 - 18, 1968

Service: Army

Rank: Sergeant

Company: Detachment A-431, Company D

Regiment: 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne)

Division: 1st Special Forces

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Sgt. Gordon Yntema, Medal of Honor's Timeline

June 26, 1945
Bethesda, Maryland, USA
January 19, 1968
Age 22
Saigon, South Vietnam
Holland, Ottawa, Michigan, USA