October 22, 1965 | Milton L. Olive III
Milton L. Olive III, a United States Army soldier was the first African American to receive the Medal of Honor in the Vietnam War.
The Medal of Honor, America’s highest military decoration was posthumously awarded to Olive for sacrificing his life for his fellow soldiers on October 22, 1965 at age 18. Part of the Congressional Medal of Honor Citation reads:
“Pfc. Olive and four other soldiers were moving through the jungle together when a grenade was thrown into their midst. Pfc. Olive saw the grenade, and then saved the lives of his fellow soldiers at the sacrifice of his own by grabbing the grenade in his hand and falling on it to absorb the blast with his body.”
Private First Class Olive was born on November 7, 1946 in Chicago, Illinois. Olive joined the military at age 17 and was serving in Vietnam as a part of Company B of the 2nd Battalion (Airborne), 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade. He died in the jungle area in Phu Cuong. His act of heroism, sacrifice, bravery and love for his fellow soldiers is beyond most of societies comprehension. Olive is buried in Lexington, Holmes County, Mississippi, the area where he lived as a young boy through high school.