The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pleasure in presenting the Medal of Honor to Specialist Fourth Class Michael John Fitzmaurice, United States Army, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving with Troop D, 2d Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division (Airmobile), in action against enemy aggressor forces at Khe Sanh, Republic of Vietnam, on 23 March 1971. Specialist Fourth Class Fitzmaurice and three fellow soldiers were occupying a bunker when a company of North Vietnamese sappers infiltrated the area. At the onset of the attack Specialist Fourth Class Fitzmaurice observed three explosive charges which had been thrown into the bunker by the enemy. Realizing the imminent danger to his comrades, and with complete disregard for his personal safety, he hurled two of the charges out of the bunker. He then threw his flak vest and himself over the remaining charge. By this courageous act he absorbed the blast and shielded his fellow-soldiers. Although suffering from serious multiple wounds and partial loss of sight, he charged out of the bunker, and engaged the enemy until his rifle was damaged by the blast of an enemy hand grenade. While in search of another weapon, Specialist Fourth Class Fitzmaurice encountered and overcame an enemy sapper in hand-to-hand combat. Having obtained another weapon, he returned to his original fighting position and inflicted additional casualties on the attacking enemy. Although seriously wounded, Specialist Fourth Class Fitzmaurice refused to be medically evacuated, preferring to remain at his post. Specialist Fourth Class Fitzmaurice's extraordinary heroism in action at the risk of his life contributed significantly to the successful defense of the position and resulted in saving the lives of a number of his fellow soldiers. These acts of heroism go above and beyond the call of duty, are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service, and reflect great credit on Specialist Fourth Class Fitzmaurice and the United States Army.
General Orders: Department of the Army, General Orders No. 39 (November 5, 1973)
Action Date: 23-Mar-71
Rank: Specialist Fourth Class
Company: Troop D, 2d Squadron
Regiment: 17th Cavalry Regiment
Division: 101st Airborne Division (Airmobile)