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Medal of Honor history: Hagemeister and McNerney

cchagemeisterJust days from separating from the Army, Charles Hagemeister learned that he would receive the Medal of Honor for his actions in the Binh Dinh province of Vietnam on 20 Mar 1967. While Richard Nixon presented the Medal of Honor to Hagemeister he asked, "How long do you have left in the service, son?" Hagemeister smiled and replied, "Seventy-two hours, sir." The president turned to a member of the brass and said, "I want you to talk to this young man after we’re done here and change his mind."

It must have worked. Hagemeister retired as a Lieutenant Colonel in 1990.

dhmcnerneyDavid McNerney was serving his third tour in Vietnam on 22 Mar 1967. While looking for a missing reconnaissance unit near Polei Doc, Vietnam, his unit came under heavy fire from a numerically-superior North Vietnamese Army. His officers were killed, so McNerney took command, calling in artillery withing 65 feet of his own men. The fighting was so intense that McNerney climbed a tree in full view of the enemy in order to identify their location to friendly aircraft. When helicopters were needed to evacuate the wounded, McNerney moved through a fusillade of fire to obtain demolition charges from abandoned rucksacks outside the perimeter.

McNerney would later volunteer for another tour - his fourth.