House Bill 366, sponsored by State Representative Ryan Smith (R-Bidwell), unanimously passed out of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee today.  HB 366 names the portion of State Route 93 from the southern boundary of the Village of Oak Hill to the Jackson County line as the “Sgt. Donald Russell Long, Medal of Honor Recipient, Memorial Highway.”


Sgt. Long was a resident of Blackfork, which is located on State Route 93 outside of Oak Hill, until he served our country in the Vietnam War. During a reconnaissance mission, Sgt. Long was attacked by Viet Kong troops with heavy mortar and concealed machine gun fire. Sgt. Long left his protected armored personnel carrier to enter heavy fire in hopes of saving his wounded comrades. Following that daring act, Sgt. Long was supplying other troops’ arms until a grenade was hurled into his vicinity. Sgt. Long jumped on the grenade, absorbing the blast, saving eight lives. Sgt. Long was killed in action on June 30th, 1966 and was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously on April 4, 1968.


“Sergeant Long defended our country with an extraordinary degree of selflessness that represents the best of the American spirit,” said Smith. “This bill would create a monument that would stand as a testament to Sgt. Long’s courageous deeds.”


The citation for Sergeant Long’s Medal of Honor is below:


Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Troops B and C, while conducting a reconnaissance mission along a road were suddenly attacked by a Viet Cong regiment, supported by mortars, recoilless rifles and machine guns, from concealed positions astride the road. Sgt. Long abandoned the relative safety of his armored personnel carrier and braved a withering hail of enemy fire to carry wounded men to evacuation helicopters. As the platoon fought its way forward to resupply advanced elements, Sgt. Long repeatedly exposed himself to enemy fire at point blank range to provide the needed supplies. While assaulting the Viet Cong position, Sgt. Long inspired his comrades by fearlessly standing unprotected to repel the enemy with rifle fire and grenades as they attempted to mount his carrier. When the enemy threatened to overrun a disabled carrier nearby, Sgt. Long again disregarded his own safety to help the severely wounded crew to safety. As he was handing arms to the less seriously wounded and reorganizing them to press the attack, an enemy grenade was hurled onto the carrier deck. Immediately recognizing the imminent danger, he instinctively shouted a warning to the crew and pushed to safety one man who had not heard his warning over the roar of battle. Realizing that these actions would not fully protect the exposed crewmen from the deadly explosion, he threw himself over the grenade to absorb the blast and thereby saved the lives of 8 of his comrades at the expense of his life. Throughout the battle, Sgt. Long's extraordinary heroism, courage and supreme devotion to his men were in the finest tradition of the military service, and reflect great credit upon himself and the U.S. Army.


 

 
 
 
  
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