Peter Charles Lemon was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions on April 1, 1970 in Vietnam. Recently, Lemon revealed that he was high on marijuana while fighting off two waves of Vietcong and bravely defending his base.
Lemon was 20-years-old when he was stationed in Tay Ninh in Vietnam, and was serving as a Sergeant in the Army when his base was attacked shortly after he partied with the rest of his battalion.
“We were all partying the night before. We weren’t expecting any action because we were in a support unit. It was the only time I ever went into combat stoned,” said Lemon. “You get really alert when you are stoned because you have to be.”
Lemon was positioned as a machine gunner when his army base fell under attack by Vietcong. The report does not specify how many Vietcong soldiers attacked the base, but says that they significantly outnumbered the American soldiers. From his defensive position in the base, Lemon opened fire and killed all but one of the enemy attackers, all while being wounded by grenade shrapnel. Lemon pursued the single Vietcong survivor, and managed to defeat him in hand-to-hand combat.
Despite his injuries, Lemon helped a seriously wounded comrade return to safety, and regained a strategic position in the base, although he was wounded again in the process. Vastly outnumbered by approaching Vietcong, and without a working gun, Lemon protected the base by throwing grenades and engaging in hand-to-hand combat. Lemon was wounded again, but continued to fight until he drove the Vietcong from the position.
Wounded multiple times and exposed to enemy fire, Lemon climbed atop an embankment and fired upon another wave of approaching Vietcong. Lemon successfully drove the Vietcong away before he collapsed from multiple injuries.
When Sgt. Lemon regained consciousness at an aid station, he refused medical attention until all of his comrades were treated before him. For his heroic actions, he was awarded the Medal of Honor, the highest honor awarded by the U.S. military.
Featured image: Peter Charles Lemon via War History Online