Spc. 5 Dwight Birdwell
During the Tet Offensive on Jan. 31, 1968, Birdwell and his unit felt the full extent of an enemy force attack, as enemy rounds disabled his tank commander and several vehicles in his convoy.
After Birdwell moved his tank commander to safety, he entered the commander’s hatch and fired upon the attacking enemies until he exhausted the tank’s ammunition.
“He knew his vehicle was the first line of defense,” Biden said. “He sustained fire, drove back the attackers and created a place of relative safety for the injured men.”
Birdwell refused medical attention after the machine gun he recovered exploded and injured him. Biden said that even after receiving orders to take medical treatment for his wounds, Birdwell snuck out of the medevac helicopter and continued fighting. Birdwell finally agreed to be evacuated after treating fellow troops and after reinforcements had arrived.
Birdwell, a member of the Cherokee Nation from Oklahoma, continues a long tradition of Native Americans serving in the armed forces. He went on to have a successful career in law, first serving as a member of the Cherokee Nation Supreme Court, then as its chief justice and finally as an Oklahoma City attorney.
“I’m grateful for all you’ve given to our country and at long last … your story is being honored as it should have been,” Biden said.
To learn more about Spc. 5 Dwight Birdwell visit: https://www.army.mil/medalofhonor/birdwell/?from_hp=spotlight