organization: First Lieutenant, U.S. Army, Headquarters and
Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion (Airborne), 327th Infantry, 1st
Brigade, 101st Airborne Division.
Place and date:
My Canh, Vietnam, 7 February 1966.
Entered service at:
Born: 7 February
1943, Dyersburg, Tenn.
conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life
above and beyond the call of duty. 1st Lt. Gardner's platoon was
advancing to relieve a company of the 1st Battalion that had been pinned
down for several hours by a numerically superior enemy force in the
village of My Canh, Vietnam. The enemy occupied a series of strongly
fortified bunker positions which were mutually supporting and expertly
concealed. Approaches to the position were well covered by an integrated
pattern of fire including automatic weapons, machine guns and mortars.
Air strikes and artillery placed on the fortifications had little
effect. 1st Lt. Gardner's platoon was to relieve the friendly company by
encircling and destroying the enemy force. Even as it moved to begin the
attack, the platoon was under heavy enemy fire. During the attack, the
enemy fire intensified. Leading the assault and disregarding his own
safety, 1st Lt. Gardner charged through a withering hail of fire across
an open rice paddy. On reaching the first bunker he destroyed it with a
grenade and without hesitation dashed to the second bunker and
eliminated it by tossing a grenade inside. Then, crawling swiftly along
the dike of a rice paddy, he reached the third bunker. Before he could
arm a grenade, the enemy gunner leaped forth, firing at him. 1st Lt.
Gardner instantly returned the fire and killed the enemy gunner at a
distance of 6 feet. Following the seizure of the main enemy position, he
reorganized the platoon to continue the attack. Advancing to the new
assault position, the platoon was pinned down by an enemy machine gun
emplaced in a fortified bunker. 1st Lt. Gardner immediately collected
several grenades and charged the enemy position, firing his rifle as he
advanced to neutralize the defenders. He dropped a grenade into the
bunker and vaulted beyond. As the bunker blew up, he came under fire
again. Rolling into a ditch to gain cover, he moved toward the new
source of fire. Nearing the position, he leaped from the ditch and
advanced with a grenade in one hand and firing his rifle with the other.
He was gravely wounded just before he reached the bunker, but with a
last valiant effort he staggered forward and destroyed the bunker, and
its defenders with a grenade. Although he fell dead on the rim of the
bunker, his extraordinary actions so inspired the men of his platoon
that they resumed the attack and completely routed the enemy. 1st Lt.
Gardner's conspicuous gallantry were in the highest traditions of the