Welcome to Their Finest Hour
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
TFH 3/20: Sp5c. Charles Chris Hagemeister, USA
Charles Chris Hagemeister was born on August 21, 1946 in Lincoln, NE. He spent a year in college after high school, but found himself bored with academics and dropped out to joint the workforce. Hagemeister was drafted into the Army in 1966, and received training as a combat medic.
Forty-five years ago today, Hagemeister showed the heights of valor to which a medic can rise in battle with the 1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment - part of the 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile). He repeatedly placed himself at risk to care for wounded comrades and also took weapons and ammo from the fallen when there was no one else to engage the enemy. He was decorated later with the Medal of Honor.
From Medal of Honor Citations for the Vietnam War (A-L):
HAGEMEISTER, CHARLES CHRIS
Rank and organization: Specialist Fifth Class (then Sp4c.) U .S. Army, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile). Place and date: Binh Dinh Province, Republic of Vietnam, 20 March 1967. Entered service at: Lincoln, Nebr. Born: 21 August 1946, Lincoln, Nebr. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. While conducting combat operations against a hostile force, Sp5c. Hagemeister's platoon suddenly came under heavy attack from 3 sides by an enemy force occupying well concealed, fortified positions and supported by machine guns and mortars. Seeing 2 of his comrades seriously wounded in the initial action, Sp5c. Hagemeister unhesitatingly and with total disregard for his safety, raced through the deadly hail of enemy fire to provide them medical aid. Upon learning that the platoon leader and several other soldiers also had been wounded, Sp5c. Hagemeister continued to brave the withering enemy fire and crawled forward to render lifesaving treatment and to offer words of encouragement. Attempting to evacuate the seriously wounded soldiers, Sp5c. Hagemeister was taken under fire at close range by an enemy sniper. Realizing that the lives of his fellow soldiers depended on his actions, Sp5c. Hagemeister seized a rifle from a fallen comrade, killed the sniper, 3 other enemy soldiers who were attempting to encircle his position and silenced an enemy machine gun that covered the area with deadly fire. Unable to remove the wounded to a less exposed location and aware of the enemy's efforts to isolate his unit, he dashed through the fusillade of fire to secure help from a nearby platoon. Returning with help, he placed men in positions to cover his advance as he moved to evacuate the wounded forward of his location. These efforts successfully completed, he then moved to the other flank and evacuated additional wounded men despite the fact that his every move drew fire from the enemy. Sp5c. Hagemeister's repeated heroic and selfless actions at the risk of his life saved the lives of many of his comrades and inspired their actions in repelling the enemy assault. Sp5c. Hagemeister's indomitable courage was in the highest traditions of the U.S. Armed Forces and reflect great credit upon himself.
Here is an interview with Hagemeister, recorded in 2011:
Charles Hagemeister left the United States Army in 1990. Today, the 1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry serves as a combined-arms battalion with the 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team of the 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, TX.