The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the
SILVER STAR MEDAL posthumously to
LCpl JAMES H. WHISENHUNT
United States Marine Corps
For service as set forth in the following
"For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action while serving as a Rocket Squad Leader with Company M, 3d Battalion, 3d Marines, 3d Marine Division, in the Republic of Vietnam, on 30 April 1967. While conducting a search and destroy mission northwest of Khe Sanh, Quang Tri Province, Company M was assigned the task of securing Hill 881, a strategic terrain feature commanding the northern approaches to the Khe Sanh complex. Although previously fought battles in the area indicated that enemy strength was exceedingly high, Lance Corporal Whisenhunt was well-trained and equipped for fighting from heavily fortified emplacements. As the assault upon the hill commenced, he advanced with the lead elements. Approaching the crest of the hill, Marine units became subjected to a heavy volume of surprise enemy fire. Intense small arms, automatic weapons and mortar fire temporarily halted the advance. Movement in the fire-swept area became extremely hazardous and was undertaken at great risk. An enemy automatic weapons emplacement, situated directly on the route of advance, seriously hindered any advance by Marines. Realizing the necessity of eliminating the position, Lance Corporal Whisenhunt on his own initiative, unhesitatingly advanced into an exposed area to clear a field of fire. Dangerously exposed, he commenced to deliver accurate, effective fire toward the enemy. Scoring a direct hit, he then moved forward toward the enemy position to destroy it completely. Heedless of his own personal safety, Lance Corporal Whisenhunt advanced across an open exposed area to secure the bunker but was mortally wounded by enemy machine gun fire. By his valorous actions and selfless devotion to his fellow Marines, he significantly contributed to the success of Marine operations in the bitterly contested conflict. Lance Corporal Whisenhunt's heroic acts upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country."