Michael I. Crescenz

Philadelphia Memorial Panel: Panel 7
National Memorial Panel / Row: West 38 / 16
Date of Birth: 14-Jan-1949
Neighborhood: West Oak Lane
High School: Cardinal Dougherty High School
Street: Thouron Avenue
Branch of Service: Army
Rank: CPL
Date of Casualty: 20-Nov-1968
Province of Casualty:
Crescenz was the only Philadelphian to earn the Medal of Honor in Vietnam. The decoration is the highest U.S. military award and was posthumously bestowed on the 1966 Cardinal Dougherty High School graduate for his actions on Nov. 20, 1968. The 19-year-old corporal was serving as a rifleman with Company A of the 4th Battalion, 31st Infantry, 196th Infantry Brigade, American Division in the Hap Duc Valley near Chu Lai, Quang Tin Province. A large, well-entrenched North Vietnamese army force had pinned down the lead squad of his unit. Crescencz left a fairly safe position, grabbed a machine gun and charged two bunkers, killing the two men in each bunker. He then ran through heavy fire to a third bunker and killed the two men there. He was shot and killed as he approached a fourth bunker, but because of his actions the Cornpany eventually defeated the enemy unit. Crescenz had worked as a shipper for a parts distributor before enlisting in the Army in February 1968. He was sent to Vietnam in September 1968. Survivors included his parents and five brothers.