Philly VA Gains Cpl. Crescenz’s Name — Cpl Michael Crescenz received the Congressional Medal of Honor in Vietnam.
A bill authored by Pennsylvania senators Pat Toomey (R) and Bob Casey Jr. (D) will see the Philadelphia Veterans Administration Center on Woodland Avenue renamed for Cpl Michael J. Crescenz, who died in action on Nov. 20, 1968 in Vietnam’s Hiep Duc Valley and is the city’s only Medal of Honor recipient from that war.
Crescenz’s unit engaged a large, well-entrenched force of the North Vietnamese Army that morning whose initial burst of fire pinned down the lead squad and killed the 2 point men, halting its advance according to the official citation.
Immediately, Cpl. Crescenz left the relative safety of his own position, seized a nearby machine gun and, with complete disregard for his safety, charged 100 meters up a slope toward the enemy’s bunkers which he effectively silenced, killing the two occupants of each.
Undaunted by the withering machine gun fire around him, Cpl. Crescenz courageously moved forward toward a third bunker which he also succeeded in silencing, killing two more of the enemy and momentarily clearing the route of advance for his comrades. Suddenly, intense machine gun fire erupted from an unseen, camouflaged bunker. Realizing the danger to his fellow soldiers, Cpl. Crescenz disregarded the barrage of hostile fire directed at him and daringly advanced toward the position.
Assaulting with his machine gun, Cpl. Crescenz was within 5 meters of the bunker when he was mortally wounded by the fire from the enemy machine gun.
As a direct result of his heroic actions, his company was able to maneuver freely with minimal danger and to complete its mission, defeating the enemy. Cpl. Crescenz’s bravery and extraordinary heroism at the cost of his life are in the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit on himself, his unit, and the U.S. Army.