During 2019, Freedoms Foundation and the Friends of the Medal of Honor Grove are paying tribute to the living recipients of the Medal of Honor on the anniversary of the actions for which they earned the nation’s highest award for valor. The series continues with Specialist Fourth Class Allan J. Lynch, whose 1st Cavalry Division unit was involved in heavy fighting on Dec. 15, 1967, after being sent to assist a company that had been ambushed near My An, Binh Dinh, in South Vietnam.
Peter Collier describes the lead up to the battle in Medal of Honor: Portraits of Valor Beyond the Call of Duty:
“Upon arriving in Vietnam in the fall of 1966, Lynch was assigned to 12th Cavalry, where for several months he served as a rifleman, then he became his platoon’s radiotelephone operator. In December 1967, his company was in the Bong Son area of the Central Highlands. The unit had been in almost daily contact with the enemy for a month and a half and on Dec. 14, it was ordered to the rear for rest and recuperation. But another company in the battalion was ambushed, and the next morning Lynch’s unit was quickly reassembled and inserted during an air assault against a large force of North Vietnamese regulars and Vietcong who were massing for the Tet Offensive, which erupted two months later.”
Allan J. Lynch’s Medal of Honor citation continues the story:
“For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Sgt. Lynch (then Sp4c.) distinguished himself while serving as a radio telephone operator with Company D.
“While serving in the forward element on an operation near the village of My An, his unit became heavily engaged with a numerically superior enemy force. Quickly and accurately assessing the situation, Sgt. Lynch provided his commander with information which subsequently proved essential to the unit’s successful actions.
“Observing three wounded comrades lying exposed to enemy fire, Sgt. Lynch dashed across 50 meters of open ground through a withering hail of enemy fire to administer aid.
“Reconnoitering a nearby trench for a covered position to protect the wounded from intense hostile fire, he killed two enemy soldiers at point blank range. With the trench cleared, he unhesitatingly returned to the fire-swept area three times to carry the wounded men to safety.
“When his company was forced to withdraw by the superior firepower of the enemy, Sgt. Lynch remained to aid his comrades at the risk of his life rather than abandon them. Alone, he defended his isolated position for two hours against the advancing enemy. Using only his rifle and a grenade, he stopped them just short of his trench, killing five.
“Again, disregarding his safety in the face of withering hostile fire, he crossed 70 meters of exposed terrain five times to carry his wounded comrades to a more secure area. Once he had assured their comfort and safety, Sgt. Lynch located the counterattacking friendly company to assist in directing the attack and evacuating the three casualties.
“His gallantry at the risk of his life is in the highest traditions of the military service, Sgt. Lynch has reflected great credit on himself, the 12th Cavalry, and the U.S. Army.”
Collier writes, “He was in action for several more weeks before he was ordered to the rear. In June 1968, he was sent to Fort Hood, Texas, where he was discharged in April 1969.
“One year later, one day before he was to be married, he was returning home from his job as a UPS deliveryman when he saw that he was being followed by a policeman. Lynch feared he would be receiving a ticket, but the officer handed him a note with a telephone number on it and told him to call it. When he called, he was informed that he was to receive the Medal of Honor. President Richard Nixon presented it to him on May 14, 1970. A few months later, Lynch took a job with the Veterans Administration.
“Lynch graduated from Southern Illinois University with a degree in health-care administration. He also completed 21 years of service in the Army Reserve and National Guard. In November 2005, he retired as chief of the Veterans Rights Bureau for the Illinois Attorney General. Lynch now volunteers as the chief service representative for the Illinois State Council of the Vietnam Veterans of America. He is also active in a men’s Bible study and ministry at the county jail.”