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Gordon D. Sparling
Class of 2001

Bronze Star with "V" Device
United States Army


For heroism in connection with ground operations against a hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam.

Sergeant Sparling distinguished himself on 8 September 1971 while serving as leader of a small long range reconnaissance team deployed deep in enemy territory. On that date, his team was attacked by an estimated platoon size enemy force. Sergeant Sparling exposed himself to the enemy fire in order to direct the team in establishing a defensive perimeter from which to ward off the enemy element. He personally placed suppressive CAR-15 and hand grenade fire on enemy positions. Realizing that the small team could not hold its position, Sergeant Sparling moved around the perimeter giving the order to withdraw to the landing zone for extraction. At the landing zone, he directed the team in establishing a 360 degree perimeter. A team member was wounded by a B-40 rocket before reaching the rest of the team. Sergeant Sparling rushed to the wounded man's position and led him to the team's landing zone defenses. He then administered first aid to the wounded man and returned to his position on the perimeter to place effective suppressive fire on the enemy. With the arrival of air support, he directed air strikes which silenced the enemy fire and enabled his team to be safely extracted. Sergeant Sparling's personal bravery and devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.
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