Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Army Veteran Joseph G. LaPointe Jr., a combat medic who received a Medal of Honor during the Vietnam War.
Joseph G. LaPointe Jr. was born in Dayton, Ohio, in July 1948. He graduated from Northbridge High School in 1966 and then moved to Clayton, Ohio, where he took a job as a mail carrier. According to the Dayton Peace Museum, he loved nature and planned to attend college as a biology major.
However, the Army drafted LaPointe in 1968 to serve in the Vietnam War. He finished his advanced training at Fort Sam in Houston, Texas, a couple of months later and became a combat medic. In November of that year, he deployed to Vietnam.
In Vietnam, LaPointe treated wounded soldiers while in the field. However, he not only helped American soldiers, but also Vietnamese children. According to a battle buddy of LaPointe’s in Vietnam, he would “treat the Vietnamese children they came across, bandaging them and performing minor first aid.”
LaPointe served in the 101st Airborne Division as a specialist four. In June 1969, he and his patrol came under attack, and two of his colleagues received serious injuries. They called for help, and LaPointe maneuvered his way to quickly answer their calls. LaPointe positioned himself as a shield against enemy fire in order to treat the wounded men. During his movement, an enemy round hit LaPointe. He continued to aid the wounded soldiers. He was struck again, but he continued to shield the soldiers from fire. However, an enemy grenade landed and detonated near the three soldiers, taking their lives.
LaPointe posthumously received a Medal of Honor for his actions from Vice President Spiro Agnew in 1971. He also received a Silver Star and Purple Heart. The auditorium at the Dayton VA is dedicated in his honor, and his wife Cindy said she hopes that dedications such as this will help spread awareness of the VA and the support it needs to aid its community.
We honor his service.
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Writer: Ryan Beane
Editors: Alexander Reza and Nolan Lounsbery
Fact checker: Giacomo Ferrari
Graphic artist: Brittany Gorski