Early in the year of 2007 a documentary later titled “Honor in the valley of Tears” was born in Houston, Texas during a reunion honoring First sergeant David H. McNerney. Executive Producer John A. Ponsoll and Eric Dow presented this documentary early this year and the trailer can be viewed here.
At the time First Sergeant David H. McNerney was the only living soldier of the 4th Infantry Division to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor.
Sergeant McNerney died at the age of 79 on Sunday October 13, 2010 as a result of Lung cancer.
“There’s a bunch of guys walking around today who wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for him,” commented Leonard McElroy a soldier who fought in Vietnam along with McNerney.
McNERNEY, DAVID H.
Rank and organization:
First Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company A, 1st Battalion, 8th Infantry, 4th Infantry Division.
Place and Date:
Polei Doc, Republic of Vietnam, 22 March 1967.
Entered service at: Fort Bliss, Tex.
Born: 2 June 1931, Lowell, Mass.
“1st Sgt. McNerney distinguished himself when his unit was attacked by a North Vietnamese battalion near polei Doc. Running through the hail of enemy fire to the area of heaviest contact, he was assisting in the development of a defensive perimeter when he encountered several enemy at close range. He killed the enemy but was painfully injured when blown from his feet by a grenade. In spite of this injury, he assaulted and destroyed an enemy machinegun position that had pinned down 5 of his comrades beyond the defensive line. Upon learning his commander and artillery forward observer had been killed, he assumed command of the company. He adjusted artillery fire to within 20 meters of the position in a daring measure to repulse ??enemy assaults. When the smoke grenades used to mark the position were gone, he moved into a nearby clearing to designate the location to friendly aircraft. In spite of enemy fire he remained exposed until he was certain the position was spotted and then climbed into a tree and tied the identification panel to its highest branches. Then he moved among his men readjusting their position, encouraging the defenders and checking the wounded. As the hostile assaults slackened, he began clearing a helicopter landing site to evacuate the wounded. When explosives were needed to remove large trees, he crawled outside the relative safety of his perimeter to collect demolition material from abandoned rucksacks. Moving through a fusillade of fire he returned with the explosives that were vital to the clearing of the landing zone. Disregarding the pain of his injury and refusing medical evacuation 1st Sgt. McNerney remained with his unit until the next day when the new commander arrived. First Sgt. McNerney’s outstanding heroism and leadership were inspirational to his comrades. His actions were in keeping with the highest traditions of the U.S. Army and reflect great credit upon himself and the Armed Forces of his country.” www.history.Army.mil
His valor was recognized in 1968 with the Congressional Metal of Honor presented at the White House by President Lyndon B. Johnson.
“As first sergeant, I had to take over. We held on as best we could. There was no way out until B Company could move up to assist us…My chest had been lacerated by a grenade, but unless you’re really hurt bad, your adrenaline keeps you going” Explained Mr. McNerney in an 1986 interview with Texas Monthly magazine.
Rest in peace sir, we salute you and send a “thank you” for our freedom. God Bless America.
The Global Position