First Lieutenant Bernard Lawrence Pierce

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First Lieutenant Bernard Lawrence Pierce

First Lieutenant Bernard Lawrence Pierce was commissioned an Armor Officer upon graduation from the U.S. Army Armor Officer Candidate School, Class 30-67, Company D1, on 2 November 1967 at Fort Knox, Kentucky. His first duty assignment is unknown. His subsequent duty assignment was as an armored cavalry platoon leader, I Troop, 3rd Squadron, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, Republic of Vietnam.

His military education consists of Armor School Officer Candidate School at Fort Knox, Kentucky.

On 19 June 1969, while serving as leader of an armored cavalry platoon near An Loc, his troop and an element of Infantry came under intense hostile rocket grenade and automatic weapons fire. Seeing that the squad of foot Soldiers was pinned down in an exposed position, Lieutenant Pierce directed his vehicle and another track to go to their aid. As the two tracks moved in, Lieutenant Pierce's track was struck by a rocket-propelled grenade and the blast rendered him blind. Despite the pain of his serious wounds, he ordered the assault continued as he valiantly manned his machine gun, unleashing a fusillade of suppressive fire. Just after the other frack succeeded in rescuing the wounded Infantrymen, a rocket-propelled grenade again struck his vehicle and claimed Lieutenant Pierce's life. For First Lieutenant Pierce's extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty, at the cost of his life, he was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, the U.S. Army's second highest award for valor.

Lieutenant Pierce's other military awards include the Bronze Star Medal (Merit), the Purple Heart, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal w/4 Oak Leaf Clusters, the Vietnam Campaign Medal w/60 device, Valorous Unit Award (2 awards), and the Republic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry w/Palm (2 awards).

On 8 September 1969 in East Windsor, Connecticut, Windsorville Park was renamed and dedicated as Pierce Memorial Park for the Soldier who played Little League baseball there. A flagpole was erected in Lieutenant Pierce' s memory just in front of a stone inscribed "In the memory of Lt. Bernard L. Pierce, Killed in Vietnam June 19, 1969." His name is also inscribed on the United States of America Department of the Army memorial stone at the Veterans Memorial Green in East Windsor, Connecticut, also on the Connecticut Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Coventry, Connecticut, and further honored on Panel 22W, Line 92 of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

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Mary Cilia

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