Lieutenant Colonel Hagemeister, MoH recipient, passes at age 74

| May 20, 2021

Then-Spec 5 Charles Hagemeister receiving the Medal of Honor from President Johnson

Devtun wanted to make sure we were all aware of the passing of a true American hero. Army Times is reporting that, at age 74, retired US Army Lieutenant Colonel Charles Hagemeister has died. Hagemeister had earned the Medal of Honor in 1967 as a Specialist Four combat medic. His passing leaves only 66 living Medal of Honor recipients.

From Army Times;

Former combat medic Charles C. Hagemeister, 74, who received the Medal of Honor after he raced through withering enemy fire during a Vietnam War ambush to care for wounded comrades, died Wednesday in Leavenworth, Kansas.

Hagemeister’s Medal of Honor actions took place March 20, 1967, in Vietnam’s Binh Dinh province. At the time, he was a specialist fourth class serving as a medic with 1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division.

Hagemeister’s platoon was sent to secure a local village and prevent the escape of North Vietnamese regulars, according to the Congressional Medal of Honor Society.

As the Americans moved through the village’s graveyard under nightfall, the enemy surrounded them on three sides, and began firing from well-concealed, fortified positions.

Two soldiers were seriously wounded in the opening salvo, prompting Hagemeister to run through a hail of gunfire to provide medical aid. When he heard that the platoon leader and several others had also been wounded, Hagemeister crawled to them to provide lifesaving treatment.

As he tried to evacuate the wounded, Hagemeister was targeted at close range by an enemy sniper.

“Realizing that the lives of his fellow soldiers depended on his actions, [Hagemeister] seized a rifle from a fallen comrade, killed the sniper, [three] other enemy soldiers who were attempting to encircle his position and silenced an enemy machine gun that covered the area with deadly fire,” the citation reads.

“Unable to remove the wounded to a less exposed location and aware of the enemy’s efforts to isolate his unit, he dashed through the fusillade of fire to secure help from a nearby platoon,” the citation added.

When he returned with help, Hagemeister placed the men in positions to cover his advance as he evacuated the wounded.

Hagemeister’s actions were credited with saving many of his fellow soldiers’ lives. He was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Lyndon B. Johnson May 14, 1968, in a ceremony at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.

From photos I see he also received the Silver Star and an Air Medal prior to his Medal of Honor. Not bad for a guy drafted at age 20.

Here’s a fantastic write up from his hometown paper. It includes the anecdote that at the time of his award ceremony the President inquired about how much time he had left in the Army, “72 hours, sir.”

If you’d like to hear about the circumstances of his heroics from his perspective, here’s the Medal of Honor Book’s story on him;

Godspeed Colonel Hagemeister. Enjoy your well deserved eternal reward.

Category: Army, Medal of Honor, Real Soldiers, Valor, We Remember

Comments (9)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. lmn0351 says:

    rest well hero

  2. Poetrooper says:

    A humble hero, like so many of the real heroes are.

  3. KoB says:

    “I was just doing my job.” Godspeed Good Sir!

    Slow Hand Salute.

  4. Roh-Dog says:

    Thank you for your dedication and love.
    Until the Highest Ground, Doc.

  5. 26Limabeans says:

    “Not bad for a guy drafted at age 20”

    Rest in peace sir.

  6. Ex-PH2 says:

    Rest in peace….

  7. Old tanker says:

    Rest in Peace Sir.

  8. Sparks says:

    Rest in well-deserved peace Sir.

  9. Jose Finklea says:

    God Bless LTC Hagemeister..