Today we want to honor a United States Marine Corps hero by the name of Frank Stanley Reasoner. Frank happens to be somewhat of a local hero for us here in North Idaho, as he was born in Spokane, WA and grew up in Kellogg, Idaho. Both cities are within a 45 min drive of our office.
Frank graduated from Kellogg High School in 1955 and enlisted in the Marine Corps a few months before he turned 18. He completed recruit training in San Diego and then bounced around for more training at several different locations throughout the US. By 1958, Frank was promoted to Sergeant and subsequently received congressional appointment to join the West Point Military Academy. At West Point, he won four straight brigade boxing championships and lettered in both wrestling and baseball. Aside from his athletics, he also earned himself a bachelor’s degree and was promoted to first lieutenant a few months after returning to active duty. After graduating in 1962, Frank completed Officers basic training in Quantico and then set off for a 3-year tour in the Pacific with the Fleet Marine Force.
In 1965, the tour was completed, and Frank was sent to Vietnam assigned as the Commanding Officer of Company A, 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion, 3rd Marine Division. Shortly after the division had arrived, Frank was leading a recon patrol of 18 men near Dai Loc when the group was attacked by a large Vietcong force. Frank fought hard and ultimately sacrificed his life attempting to save one of his wounded men. The Lieutenant was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his brave actions and his undaunting will to save his fellow men. The 3rd Reconnaissance Battalions base camp at Hill 327 in Danang was named “Camp Reasoner” in memory of the hero. He also had a US Navy shipped named after him, the USS Reasoner FF-1063, a Knox-class frigate that was commissioned from 1971 to 1993.
First Lieutenant Frank S. Reasoner’s Medal of Honor Citation can be read below.
“For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. The reconnaissance patrol led by 1st Lt. Reasoner had deeply penetrated heavily controlled enemy territory when it came under extremely heavy fire from an estimated 50 to 100 Viet Cong insurgents. Accompanying the advance party and the point that consisted of 5 men, he immediately deployed his men for an assault after the Viet Cong had opened fire from numerous concealed positions. Boldly shouting encouragement, and virtually isolated from the main body, he organized a base of fire for an assault on the enemy positions. The slashing fury of the Viet Cong machinegun and automatic weapons fire made it impossible for the main body to move forward. Repeatedly exposing himself to the devastating attack he skillfully provided covering fire, killing at least 2 Viet Cong and effectively silencing an automatic weapons position in a valiant attempt to effect evacuation of a wounded man. As casualties began to mount his radio operator was wounded and 1st Lt. Reasoner immediately moved to his side and tended his wounds. When the radio operator was hit a second time while attempting to reach a covered position, 1st Lt. Reasoner courageously running to his aid through the grazing machinegun fire fell mortally wounded. His indomitable fighting spirit, valiant leadership and unflinching devotion to duty provided the inspiration that was to enable the patrol to complete its mission without further casualties. In the face of almost certain death he gallantly gave his life in the service of his country. His actions upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the U.S. Naval Service.”
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