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Monday, November 07, 2011
TFH 11/7: Specialist 4th Class Robert F. Stryker, USA
On this day in 1967, an American soldier smothered a mine to save the lives of six of his comrades.
From Medal of Honor Citations for the Vietnam War:
*STRYKER, ROBERT F.
Rank and organization: Specialist Fourth Class, U.S. Army, Company C, 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry, 1st Infantry Division. Place and date: Near Loc Ninh, Republic of Vietnam, 7 November 1967. Entered service at: Throop, N.Y. Born: 9 November 1944, Auburn, N.Y. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Sp4c. Stryker, U.S. Army, distinguished himself while serving with Company C. Sp4c. Stryker was serving as a grenadier in a multicompany reconnaissance in force near Loc Ninh. As his unit moved through the dense underbrush, it was suddenly met with a hail of rocket, automatic weapons and small arms fire from enemy forces concealed in fortified bunkers and in the surrounding trees. Reacting quickly, Sp4c. Stryker fired into the enemy positions with his grenade launcher. During the devastating exchange of fire, Sp4c. Stryker detected enemy elements attempting to encircle his company and isolate it from the main body of the friendly force. Undaunted by the enemy machinegun and small-arms fire, Sp4c. Stryker repeatedly fired grenades into the trees, killing enemy snipers and enabling his comrades to sever the attempted encirclement. As the battle continued, Sp4c. Stryker observed several wounded members of his squad in the killing zone of an enemy claymore mine. With complete disregard for his safety, he threw himself upon the mine as it was detonated. He was mortally wounded as his body absorbed the blast and shielded his comrades from the explosion. His unselfish actions were responsible for saving the lives of at least 6 of his fellow soldiers. Sp4c. Stryker's great personal bravery was in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflects great credit upon himself, his unit, and the U.S. Army.
Robert Stryker was killed two days before his 23rd birthday. He rests today in Pine Hill Cemetery, Throop, NY. Sp4c. Stryker's memory lives on every day in the present United States Army. Our Army's Stryker armored fighting vehicles - named also for Medal of Honor recipient Stuart S. Stryker (WW2, 3/24/1945) - have been in service for over ten years and now equip eight of the Army's Brigade Combat Teams. These fighting vehicles have proven their worth to our Army warriors in both Iraq and Afghanistan.