Saturday, November 24, 2012

TFH 11/24: 2LT Mark S. Steiner, USA

Mark Stephen Steiner was born on Armistice Day, November 11, 1948 (Veterans Day was so named in 1954). His hometown was Ogden, Utah. At just 19 years old, he graduated from Officer Candidates' School and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Army's artillery branch in 1968. He arrived for combat in Vietnam (click the "full profile" link at this page) on September 12, 1968 and joined Battery C, 2nd Battalion, 4th Field Artillery Regiment, then part of the 9th Infantry Division.

Just thirteen days after his 20th birthday, Lieutenant Steiner was attached as a forward observer to the 2nd Battalion, 60th Infantry Regiment. Steiner was with 2-60's Company A on a reconnaissance-in-force mission in the Long An province in Vietnam's Mekong Delta on November 24, 1968 when the infantry came under heavy fire from a fortified communist enemy force. He set aside his role as a gunner and engaged the enemy directly to protect the wounded soldiers around him. His courage in the face of the enemy inspired the soldiers around him to attack.

The young lieutenant was cut down by the enemy, and his gallantry was posthumously recognized with the second-highest award the Army could grant: the Distinguished Service Cross.

From Military Times' Hall of Valor:

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 9, 1918 (amended by act of July 25, 1963), takes pride in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross (Posthumously) to Second Lieutenant (Field Artillery) Mark Stephen Steiner (ASN: 0-5433916), United States Army, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations involving conflict with an armed hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam, while serving with Company A, 2d Battalion, 60th Infantry, 9th Infantry Division. Second Lieutenant Steiner distinguished himself by exceptionally valorous actions on 24 November 1968 while serving as an artillery forward observer on a reconnaissance-in-force mission near Tan Tru, Long An Province. The point element of Lieutenant Steiner's platoon suddenly came under intense automatic weapons fire from a bunker hidden in a woodline, and several men were wounded by the initial volley. Realizing that artillery support might be needed, Lieutenant Steiner moved forward through the withering enemy barrage and discovered that two casualties and the medic who was treating them were completely unprotected. He immediately secured a grenade launcher and began applying suppressive fire while maneuvering towards the aggressors. Inspired by his courage, a machine gun crew joined him as he advanced to within a few feet of the hostile stronghold. Further exposing himself to the communists' fusillade, Lieutenant Steiner attempted to fire his pistol into the bunker and, when the weapon failed to fire, hurled a grenade into the structure's gun port which killed the enemy within. Fire then erupted from a previously undetected bunker located behind him, killing two men. Realizing that his comrades were in grave danger, Lieutenant Steiner turned and opened fire on the second emplacement to enable the others to reach cover. As he fearlessly engaged the enemy, he was mortally wounded by hostile fire. Second Lieutenant Steiner's extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty, at the cost of his life were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.

Lieutenant Steiner's name appears on Panel 38W, Line 53 of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC. I could not determine where his remains rest.

The 2nd Battalion, 4th Field Artillery Regiment is part of the 214th Fires Brigade at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. They are currently armed with the M270 Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) and are assigned operationally to III Corps. While the 9th Infantry Division is inactive, the 2nd Battalion, 60th Infantry is preparing America's soldiers of tomorrow through Basic Combat Training as part of the 193rd Infantry Brigade at Fort Jackson, South Carolina.


  1. Mark went to my high school, though many years before me. Here is his burial information--thank you for your page:

  2. Sorry, turns out that doesn't include burial information. I'm still looking. Thank you again for your wonderful blog.

  3. Yeah, I'm pretty sure I saw the FindAGrave page when I wrote the original post. Regardless, I'm glad you found your way here, and I hope you continue to read and revisit!



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