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James Michael Sprayberry

Date of birth: April 24, 1947
Date of death: Still Living
Place of Birth: Georgia, LaGrange
Home of record: Montgomery Alabama


Medal of Honor

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Awarded for actions during the Vietnam War

The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pleasure in presenting the Medal of Honor to Captain (Infantry) James Michael Sprayberry, United States Army, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as Executive Officer of Company D, 5th Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile), in action against enemy aggressor forces at Republic of Vietnam, on 25 April 1968. Captain Sprayberry's company commander and a great number of the men were wounded and separated from the main body of the company. A daylight attempt to rescue them was driven back by the well entrenched enemy's heavy fire. Captain Sprayberry then organized and led a volunteer night patrol to eliminate the intervening enemy bunkers and to relieve the surrounded element. The patrol soon began receiving enemy machinegun fire. Captain Sprayberry quickly moved the men to protective cover and without regard for his own safety, crawled within close range of the bunker from which the fire was coming. He silenced the machinegun with a hand grenade. Identifying several one-man enemy positions nearby, Captain Sprayberry immediately attacked them with the rest of his grenades. He crawled back for more grenades and when two grenades were thrown at his men from a position to the front, Captain Sprayberry, without hesitation, again exposed himself and charged the enemy-held bunker killing its occupants with a grenade. Placing two men to cover his advance, he crawled forward and neutralized three more bunkers with grenades. Immediately thereafter, Captain Sprayberry was surprised by an enemy soldier who charged from a concealed position. He killed the soldier with his pistol and with continuing disregard for the danger neutralized another enemy emplacement. Captain Sprayberry then established radio contact with the isolated men, directing them toward his position. When the two elements made contact he organized his men into litter parties to evacuate the wounded. As the evacuation was nearing completion, he observed an enemy machinegun position which he silenced with a grenade. Captain Sprayberry returned to the rescue party, established security, and moved to friendly lines with the wounded. This rescue operation, which lasted approximately 7 1/2 hours, saved the lives of many of his fellow soldiers. Captain Sprayberry personally killed 12 enemy soldiers, eliminated two machineguns, and destroyed numerous enemy bunkers. Captain Sprayberry's indomitable spirit and gallant action at great personal risk to his life are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.

General Orders: Department of the Army, General Orders No. 64 (October 27, 1969)

Action Date: 25-Apr-68

Service: Army

Rank: Captain

Company: Company D

Battalion: 5th Battalion

Regiment: 7th Cavalry Regiment

Division: 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile)