Medal Of Honor: U.S. Soldier Stays Behind After Firebase Falls, Hides Within Earshot Of Invaders

Last updated March 14, 2022

Some families have a long-standing military legacy. This was especially true for Brian Thacker, whose family had a long history of serving in the Air Force.

Off To Vietnam

Thacker was a part of an ROTC program where he earned his officer commission, and in the fall of 1970, he was sent to Vietnam. In the spring of 1971, Thacker led a six-man team in the Kon Tum Province on a support mission.

They were tasked with supporting a South Vietnamese artillery unit but spent weeks without seeing the enemy. However, that did not last forever.

The enemy attacked the firebase with the intent of taking out the machine gun that was keeping them from getting close. Eventually, enemy forces could take out the machine gun, and the firebase lost its perimeter.

The enemy planned to take the South Vietnamese's artillery shell supply. Thacker was going to do everything he could to prevent that from happening.

Extraction Plan

Even though there were being overrun, Thacker put an extraction plan in place, and the team took the artillery shells apart to prevent the enemy from getting them. Huey helicopters came to offer the team support, but anti-aircraft weapons shot down two of them.

Thacker's men went to the extraction site while he stayed behind. He continued to coordinate the base's defenses from his position, including an artillery strike.

The strike gave his men enough time to getaway. However, Thacker was still in the base, so he moved to a spot within earshot of the base, but far enough that the enemy would not check.

Thacker was within earshot of the North Vietnamese for eight days nestled into the thick bamboo forest. He stayed there without any food or water until the allied forces returned.

He came out of the bamboo and was taken to a hospital close by. President Richard Nixon gave him the Medal of Honor on October 15, 1973.

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