— 50 Years Ago Today —
Today, we remember Corporal Michael F. Folland. On this day in 1969, while assigned to Company D, 2d Battalion, 3d Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard), CPL Folland acted with “gallantry and intrepidity” when his unit was ambushed in Long Khanh Province, Republic of Vietnam. His actions cost him his life, and were recognized with the posthumous awarding of the Medal of Honor.
The 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) Headquarters building, located at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, VA, was named for CPL Folland on October 2, 1998.
Medal of Honor Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Cpl. Folland distinguished himself while serving as an ammunition bearer with the weapons platoon of Company D, during a reconnaissance patrol mission. As the patrol was moving through a dense jungle area, it was caught in an intense crossfire from heavily fortified and concealed enemy ambush positions. As the patrol reacted to neutralize the ambush, it became evident that the heavy weapons could not be used in the cramped fighting area. Cpl. Folland dropped his recoilless rifle ammunition, and ran forward to join his commander in an assault on the enemy bunkers. The assaulting force moved forward until it was pinned down directly in front of the heavily fortified bunkers by machine gun fire. Cpl. Folland stood up to draw enemy fire on himself and to place suppressive fire on the enemy positions while his commander attempted to destroy the machine gun positions with grenades. Before the officer could throw a grenade, an enemy grenade landed in the position. Cpl. Folland alerted his comrades and his commander hurled the grenade from the position. When a second enemy grenade landed in the position, Cpl. Folland again shouted a warning to his fellow soldiers. Seeing that no one could reach the grenade and realizing that it was about to explode, Cpl. Folland, with complete disregard for his safety, threw himself on the grenade. By his dauntless courage, Cpl. Folland saved the lives of his comrades although he was mortally wounded by the explosion. Cpl. Folland’s extraordinary heroism, at the cost of his life, was in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflects great credit upon himself, his unit, and the U.S. Army.