Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge extends its deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Charles Hagemeister, a Medal of Honor Recipient from the Vietnam War who went on to serve on the board of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society and travel the country in support of the Society’s Character Development Program. Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge was honored to have him visit the Medal of Honor Grove on several occasions and to speak at the Medal of Honor Legacy Program: Vietnam in Pueblo, Colorado in 2019.
The Congressional Medal of Honor Society released the following statement on his passing….
The Congressional Medal of Honor Society regretfully announces that Charles C. Hagemeister, Medal of Honor Recipient, passed away Wednesday, May 19, 2021, at the age of 74 in Leavenworth, Kansas.
Then-Specialist Fourth Class Hagemeister was assigned as a medic to Headquarters & Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile), U.S. Army, in Vietnam’s Binh Dinh Province when the enemy attacked at night on March 20, 1967. His platoon was sent to secure the village of Tan An and prevent the escape of North Vietnamese regulars. While they moved through the village’s graveyard, the enemy surrounded them on three sides and initiated intense fire. His platoon quickly suffered heavy casualties. For the next seven and a half hours, Hagemeister unhesitatingly faced the heavy fire several times to reach the wounded, offering medical aid and encouragement.
Prevented from evacuating the wounded by the hostile fire, he seized a rifle and eliminated a sniper, an enemy machine gun, and three enemy soldiers trying to encircle his position. With his men pinned down, Hagemeister ran to secure help from nearby platoon and positioned them so that he could more safely remove the wounded. He continued to evacuate the wounded as the enemy continued firing.
For all the lives he saved on that day, Hagemeister was presented the Medal of Honor by President Lyndon B. Johnson on May 14, 1968, in a ceremony at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. In a July 1968 interview with Army Digest, Hagemeister said, “The pressure of a crisis situation makes you realize what you’re made of. If you do your job and a little bit for somebody else, you’ll usually come through.”
Hagemeister was born in Lincoln, Nebraska, on August 21, 1946, youngest of 4 siblings. He graduated from Lincoln’s Southeast High School and was drafted into the Army in May 1966 while on a break from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln. He retired from active duty as a lieutenant colonel in June 1990. He served on the board of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society.
He is survived by his wife, Barbara, two children, and two grandchildren. Burial arrangements are pending.
There are 66 recipients alive today.
To learn more about Charles Hagemeister visit Freedoms Foundation’s post “This Day in Medal of Honor History” featuring Hagemeister. See Post Here