Rank and Organization: Platoon
Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company B, 1st Battalion, 16th Infantry,
1st Infantry Division.
Place and Date: Near Suoi Da, Republic of Vietnam, 28 February 1967.
Entered Service At: Birmingham, Ala.
Born: 26 November 1929, Eutaw, Ala.
Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at
the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. His
platoon was suddenly attacked by a large enemy force
employing small arms, automatic weapons, and hand grenades.
Although the platoon leader and several other key leaders were
among the first wounded, p/Sgt. Leonard quickly rallied his
men to throw back the initial enemy assaults. During the short
pause that followed, he organized a defensive perimeter,
redistributed ammunition, and inspired his comrades through his
forceful leadership and words of encouragement. Noticing a
wounded companion outside the perimeter, he dragged the
man to safety but was struck by a sniper's bullet which
shattered his left hand. Refusing medical attention and
continuously exposing himself to the increasing fire as the
enemy again assaulted the perimeter, p/Sgt. Leonard moved
from position to position to direct the fire of his men against the
well camouflaged foe. Under the cover of the main attack, the
enemy moved a machinegun into a location where it could
sweep the entire perimeter. This threat was magnified when the
platoon machinegun in this area malfunctioned. p/Sgt. Leonard
quickly crawled to the gun position and was helping to clear the
malfunction when the gunner and other men in the vicinity were
wounded by fire from the enemy machinegun. p/Sgt. Leonard
rose to his feet, charged the enemy gun and destroyed the
hostile crew despite being hit several times by enemy fire. He
moved to a tree, propped himself against it, and continued to
engage the enemy until he succumbed to his many wounds. His
fighting spirit, heroic leadership, and valiant acts inspired the
remaining members of his platoon to hold back the enemy until
assistance arrived. p/Sgt. Leonard's profound courage and
devotion to his men are in keeping with the highest traditions of
the military service, and his gallant actions reflect great credit
upon himself and the U.S. Army.
Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Civilian Personnel Policy.
Black Americans in Defense of Our Nation.
Washington, D.C.: GPO, 1985.
Hansen, Jeff. "Medal of Honor Winner Now In Fit Grave." (2000). Retrieved
August 4, 2003 from the World Wide Web at
"64th Medal of Honor."
New York Times, December 19, 1968. P. 18.