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David McNerney

David McNerney

One of "our" Host City Receipents... were especially glad to have David at our functions each year.

Central Highlands '67 --Sergeant McNerney told his company commander that he would go to the front of the action to get a clearer picture of what they faced. He still remembers the sound of the bullets all around him: like angry bees. Hitting the dirt, he opened fire on the North Vietnamese and killed several of them. Then he saw, as if in slow motion, a grenade sailing through the air toward him. The concussion lifted him in the air and thumped him down.

Learning that his commander and forward artillery observer had been killed, McNerney took over command of the company. Sensing that the enemy was about to envelop his unit, he called in artillery fire to within about sixty-five feet of his position. Having run out of smoke grenades, McNerney moved into a nearby clearing to mark the location for U.S. planes. In plain view of the enemy and under constant fire, he climbed a tree and tied the unit’s brightly colored identification panel to the highest branches so that friendly aircraft would know where the Americans were.

Still under heavy fire, McNerney crawled into no-man’s-land to collect demolition materials from the rucksacks of the men who had dropped them when the fighting began. He used the explosives to blow up large trees and clear a landing site so that helicopters could begin evacuating his hard-hit unit. Disregarding the pain of his injuries and refusing medical evacuation, McNerney remained with his unit until the next day, when a new commander arrived.