Friday, September 07, 2012

TFH 9/7: Staff Sergeant Glenn H. English, Jr., USA

Glenn Harry English, Jr. was born in Altoona, Pennsylvania on April 23, 1940. He entered the United States Army from Philadelphia in 1962. By September 1970, he had attained the rank of Staff Sergeant and was serving with Company E, 3rd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment ("The Rock") - then part of the 173rd Airborne Brigade ("Sky Soldiers").

On September 7, 1970, Staff Sergeant English was in the lead vehicle of an armored personnel carrier column when a mine was detonated in front of it, starting an enemy ambush. His uniform was afire as he escaped the vehicle, but that didn't stop him from leading the unit on a counterattack against the ambushing forces. With his unit safe, he turned his attention to the three soldiers trapped in the burning vehicle. His rescue attempt cost him his life, and a grateful Nation paid recognition to his valor above and beyond the normal call of duty with the Medal of Honor.

From Medal of Honor Citations for the Vietnam War (A-L):


Rank and organization: Staff Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company E, 3d Battalion, 503d Infantry, 173d Airborne Brigade. Place and date: Phu My District, Republic of Vietnam, 7 September 1970. Entered service at: Philadelphia, Pa. Born: 23 April 1940, Altoona, Pa. Citation: S/Sgt. English was riding in the lead armored personnel carrier in a 4-vehicle column when an enemy mine exploded in front of his vehicle. As the vehicle swerved from the road, a concealed enemy force waiting in ambush opened fire with automatic weapons and anti-tank grenades, striking the vehicle several times and setting it on fire. S/Sgt. English escaped from the disabled vehicle and, without pausing to extinguish the flames on his clothing, rallied his stunned unit. He then led it in a vigorous assault, in the face of heavy enemy automatic weapons fire, on the entrenched enemy position. This prompt and courageous action routed the enemy and saved his unit from destruction. Following the assault, S/Sgt. English heard the cries of 3 men still trapped inside the vehicle. Paying no heed to warnings that the ammunition and fuel in the burning personnel carrier might explode at any moment, S/Sgt. English raced to the vehicle and climbed inside to rescue his wounded comrades. As he was lifting 1 of the men to safety, the vehicle exploded, mortally wounding him and the man he was attempting to save. By his extraordinary devotion to duty, indomitable courage, and utter disregard for his own safety, S/Sgt. English saved his unit from destruction and selflessly sacrificed his life in a brave attempt to save 3 comrades. S/Sgt. English's conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the cost of his life were an inspiration to his comrades and are in the highest traditions of the U.S. Army.

His name is inscribed on Panel 07W, Line 44 of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC. The three Sky Soldiers Staff Sergeant English died trying to save were PFC Eugene A. Aaron, CPL Eddie J. Padilla, and PFC Brent W. Sveen. Glenn H. English, Jr. rests in peace in the Main Post Cemetery of Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

While the 3rd Battalion of the 503rd Infantry is currently inactive, both the 1st & 2nd Battalions of the regiment are part of today's 173d Airborne Brigade Combat Team. They are normally stationed as a forward-deployed component of United States Army Europe with their headquarters at the US Army Garrison Vicenza, Italy.

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