On the Marine Corps birthday, today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Marine Veteran Alfred M. Wilson, a Vietnam War Medal of Honor recipient.
Alfred Mac Wilson was born in January 1948, in Olney, Illinois. At the age of two, he and his family moved to Odessa, Texas. He later graduated from Odessa Senior High School in 1967. On Nov. 1, 1967, Wilson enlisted into the Marine Corps Reserve at Abilene, Texas. He transitioned to active duty in April 1968.
Wilson underwent basic recruit training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego, California. In May 1968, he completed his training and transferred to Camp Pendleton, California. He finished combat training and transferred to Company D, 1st Battalion, 2nd Infantry Training Regiment.
Later, Wilson completed basic infantry training in June 1968 and promoted to private first class on July 1, 1968. That same month, Wilson arrived in the Republic of Vietnam as a rifleman. He served with Company D, 1st Battalion, 27th Marines, 1st Marine Division until September. Wilson then went to Company M, 3rd Battalion, 9th Marines, 3rd Marine Division.
On March 3, 1969, while returning from a reconnaissance mission, the enemy attacked Wilson’s platoon. Despite enemy fire, Wilson and one of his fellow Marines attempted to retrieve a machine gun from the platoon’s wounded machine gunner. However, an enemy hand grenade landed between Wilson and his fellow Marine. Once Wilson noticed the grenade, he threw himself on top of the explosive device and absorbed the full force of the blast. Wilson died in action near Fire Support Base Cunningham, Quang Tri Province.
His actions saved his fellow Marines. He received a Medal of Honor, Purple Heart, National Defense Service Medal and Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal. He also posthumously promoted to corporal.
Vice President Spiro T. Agnew presented Wilson’s family a Medal of Honor at the White House. He is buried in the Sunset Memorial Gardens Cemetery in Odessa, Texas.
We honor his service.
Do you want to light up the face of a special Veteran? Have you been wondering how to tell your Veteran they are special to you? VA’s #VeteranOfTheDay social media feature is an opportunity to highlight your Veteran and his/her service.
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Writer: Adrienne Brookstein
Editor: Christopher Wilson