This Medal of Honor Recipient's One-Man Assault Exemplified Unit's Motto

Medal of Honor recipient Col. Gordon R. Roberts retires after 44 years of service.
Medal of Honor recipient Col. Gordon R. Roberts retires after 44 years of service. (Sgt. Ferdinand Detres Jr./U.S. Army photo)

Veterans of Ap Bia Mountain, also known as Hill 937 -- "Hamburger Hill" -- included the men of B Co., 1st Battalion, 506th Infantry, 101st Airborne Division. Spc. 4 Gordon R. Roberts, like his B Co. comrades, knew in the summer of 1969 after Hamburger Hill that time was running out for any kind of American victory. Yet Roberts, like so many others, continued to fight with bravery and distinction.

On July 11, Roberts' platoon was pinned down by heavy fire from a hill while trying to maneuver along a ridge below. Roberts charged the closest enemy bunker and silenced it. He continued his one-man assault on another and then another bunker, even after enemy fire knocked his rifle from his hands and forced him to take up a weapon dropped by a comrade. Cut off from his platoon, Roberts assaulted yet another bunker before fighting his way back to another 1/506th company, where he assisted in moving the wounded to an evacuation area before he returned to B Co. For his actions that day, Roberts was awarded the Medal of Honor.

In 1970, Sgt. Roberts had been detailed as a reporter to the Stars & Stripes newspaper. He was on an assignment back with his fellow Currahees one day when a squad from the 506th started running toward one of its patrols that had sighted an enemy formation. Roberts fell in beside Mike Bookser.

"He didn't have a gun and I asked him what he was doing ... he told me he was going to help," Bookser said. "I commented on him not having a gun, and he told me he would pick one up when we got to where we were going ... I told him he was nuts. Now understand that this conversation was going on while we were running through the jungle. What a guy!"

Roberts may be considered the exemplar of the Currahee motto: "We stand together -- then, now, and always."

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