RANGER ROBERT JOSEPH PRUDEN
Medal of Honor
During the Vietnam War 240 men received the nation's highest military award: The Medal of Honor. Of those 240 brave men, 149 received the Medal of Honor posthumously. Robert Joseph Pruden is a recipient of the Medal of Honor.
PRUDEN, ROBERT JOSEPH
Rank and organization: Staff Sergeant, U.S. Army, 75th Infantry, Americal Division
Place and date: Quang Ngai Province, Republic of Vietnam, 29 November 1969
Entered service at: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Born: 9 September 1949, St. Paul, Minnesota
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. S/Sgt. Pruden, Company G, distinguished himself while serving as a reconnaissance team leader during an ambush mission.
The 6-man team was inserted by helicopter into enemy controlled territory to establish an ambush position and to obtain information concerning enemy movements. As the team moved into the preplanned area, S/Sgt. Pruden deployed his men into 2 groups on the opposite sides of a well used trail. As the groups were establishing their defensive positions, 1 member of the team was trapped in the open by the heavy fire from an enemy squad.
Realizing that the ambush position had been compromised, S/Sgt. Pruden directed his team to open fire on the enemy force. Immediately, the team came under heavy fire from a second enemy element. S/Sgt. Pruden, with full knowledge of the extreme danger involved, left his concealed position and, firing as he ran, advanced toward the enemy to draw the hostile fire.
He was seriously wounded twice but continued his attack until he fell for a third time, in front of the enemy positions. S/Sgt. Pruden's actions resulted in several enemy casualties and withdrawal of the remaining enemy force. Although grievously wounded, he directed his men into defensive positions and called for evacuation helicopters, which safety withdrew the members of the team.
S/Sgt. Pruden's outstanding courage, selfless concern for the welfare of his men, and intrepidity in action at the cost of his life were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the U.S. Army.
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Pruden family at the CMH ceremony in D.C.