The Medal of Honor
Cutinha, Nicholas J.
Sargent, Ruppert L.
Rank and organization: First Lieutenant, U.S. Army, Company B, 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry, 25th Infantry Division. Place and date: Hau Nghia Province, Republic of Vietnam, 15 March 1967. Entered service at: Richmond, Va. Born: 6 January 1938, Hampton, Va. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. While leading a platoon of Company B, 1st Lt. Sargent was investigating a reported Viet Cong meeting house and weapons cache. A tunnel entrance which 1st Lt. Sargent observed was booby trapped. He tried to destroy the booby trap and blow the cover from the tunnel using hand grenades, but this attempt was not successful. He and his demolition man moved in to destroy the booby trap and cover which flushed a Viet Cong soldier from the tunnel, who was immediately killed by the nearby platoon sergeant. 1st Lt. Sargent, the platoon sergeant, and a forward observer moved toward the tunnel entrance. As they approached, another Viet Cong emerged and threw 2 hand grenades that landed in the midst of the group. 1st Lt. Sargent fired 3 shots at the enemy then turned and unhesitatingly threw himself over the 2 grenades. He was mortally wounded, and his 2 companions were lightly wounded when the grenades exploded. By his courageous and selfless act of exceptional heroism, he saved the lives of the platoon sergeant and forward observer and prevented the injury or death of several other nearby comrades. 1st Lt. Sargent's actions were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military services and reflect great credit upon himself and the U.S. Army.
The city of Hampton, Virginia has named its new city administration building in honor of Medal of Honor recipient First Lieutenant Ruppert Leon Sargent. This hero was a true Hampton native - he called Hampton home his entire life. He was born and educated in Hampton and his wife and two children were still living in his Hampton home as he served in 4th Battalion during the Vietnam War. Today this hero rests in Hampton National Cemetery and is the only person born and raised in Hampton to be awarded the Medal of Honor.The building was dedicated on 5 October 2002. Joseph Galloway (author of "We Were Soldiers") gave the keynote address. For more information go to the dedication webpage here.