Dale Eugene Wayrynen
Specialist Four
B CO, 2ND BN, 502ND INFANTRY, 101ST ABN DIV, USARV
Army of the United States
Mc Gregor, Minnesota
January 18, 1947 to May 19, 1967
DALE E WAYRYNEN is on the Wall at Panel 20E, Line 52

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Dale E Wayrynen
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Dale E Wayrynen

SP4 DALE EUGENE WAYRYNEN


Dale E Wayrynen

SP4 DALE EUGENE WAYRYNEN

 

Thank you so much for your work in keeping The Virtual Wall up and running. We must never forget those who served our country so unselfishly and paid the ultimate price along with the wounded and POWS.

I have attached a picture of a very good friend of mine who died in Viet Nam, He was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.

-- Greg Iverson, 10/04/2012

The Army's Adjutant General notification of a "Military Casualty in Vietnam as the Result of Hostile Action" to the Army Chief of Staff stated: On 19 May 1967, "Indiv was on combat operation when he jumped on hostile grenade to save the lives of his friends." Perhaps a bit short based on full circumstances.

In the Command Chronology of the Third Marine Amphibious Force (III MAF), available to the public from Texas Tech University's Vietnam Virtual Archive, it has a bit more information about events of 18 May, but not a lot more. The Report states "Operation Malheur ... At 0920 hours, 18 May, Company B, 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry, 101st Airborne, engaged 20 NVA in the vicinity of BS 705322, resulting in 9 NVA confirmed killed in action and the capture of 1 NVA Nurse and 1 smuggler. At 1420 (2:20 p.m) that same day in vicinity of BS 703322, Company B maneuvered an estimated Viet Cong company into a pocket resulting in 31 VC confirmed killed in action." End of report.

The rest of the report did not show that Company B had made that afternoon contact on Hill 424 while one of their platoons, with SP4 Wayrynen, was patrolling several miles away from the main body. The platoon made their way from their patrol area, reaching the company on Hill 424 late in the afternoon. The platoon made stretchers to move the Company B wounded off the hill and they started down the jungle path in single file as darkness came. By now however, it was so dark they couldn't follow the path. The unit radioed for illumination flares and waited. There was lightning in the area, and during one of the lightning flashes, the platoon realized they were face to face with the enemy. Contact had been made again. Shortly after the contact started, illumination rounds began and the unit realized they were near an NVA bunker complex.

Also shortly after the start of this contact, still in the dark, was when Dale covered a grenade thrown by the enemy with his body to shield other members of his squad from injury. Dale survived his initial injuries for several hours more but died as the fighting subsided and the sounds of battle, were replaced with the cries of the wounded. They remained on the hill until morning when they evacuated the injured and dead.

On October 17, 1969, newspapers reported the White House ceremoney with President Richard Nixon presenting the Medal of Honor, posthumously, to 3 families of servicmen. The first two were in the same platoon from Company B, 1st Battalion, 8th Cavlary, 1st Cavalry Division who kept the enemy away from a downd helicopter. The medal was presented to the parents of SP5 Edgar Lee McWethy, Jr (Mr and Mrs Edgar L McWethy of Baxter Kansas) and SP4 Carmel Bernon Harvey, Jr (Mrs Carmell Harvey of Chicago, Illinois).

Along with the parents of the other 2 soldiers, LaVerne and Eugene E. Wayrynen of McGregor, Minnesota, accepted their son's Medal of Honor from President Nixon in a private ceremony. Dale's father, Eugene, was a gunner on a B-17 bomber during World War II. When his plane was shot down in 1944, the elder Wayrynen spent a year as a prisoner of war.

On October 27, 1969, the Department of the Army issued General Orders 66, confirming the award of the Medal of Honor to SP4 Dale Eugene Wayrynen. The order, with more details of the full story, appears below.



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Greg Iverson, in his email submission of the photo, also attached a link to "Other information". Upon review, it is the full story (Minnesota Public Radio - November 13, 2007) surrounding the events, by the men who were saved, in which SP4 Dale E Wayrynen was killed protecting his friends.

-- The Virtual Wall


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