Donald R Long
Donald was born on the 27th of August, 1939 in Blackfork, Ohio, a community where the majority of residents were descendants of free people of color from Virginia and North Carolina. Donald graduated from Decatur-Washington High School in 1957 and five years later he enlisted in the US Army in Ashland, Kentucky. By the time he was deployed to the Republic of Vietnam, he was a sergeant with Troop C, 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division and it was his actions on the 30th of June, 1966, that would earn him the Medal of Honor. The citation reads:
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Troops B and C, while conducting a reconnaissance mission along a road were suddenly attacked by a Viet Cong regiment, supported by mortars, recoilless rifles and machine guns, from concealed positions astride the road. Sgt. Long abandoned the relative safety of his armored personnel carrier and braved a withering hail of enemy fire to carry wounded men to evacuation helicopters. As the platoon fought its way forward to resupply advanced elements, Sgt. Long repeatedly exposed himself to enemy fire at point blank range to provide the needed supplies. While assaulting the Viet Cong position, Sgt. Long inspired his comrades by fearlessly standing unprotected to repel the enemy with rifle fire and grenades as they attempted to mount his carrier. When the enemy threatened to overrun a disabled carrier nearby, Sgt. Long again disregarded his own safety to help the severely wounded crew to safety. As he was handing arms to the less seriously wounded and reorganizing them to press the attack, an enemy grenade was hurled onto the carrier deck. Immediately recognizing the imminent danger, he instinctively shouted a warning to the crew and pushed to safety one man who had not heard his warning over the roar of battle. Realizing that these actions would not fully protect the exposed crewmen from the deadly explosion, he threw himself over the grenade to absorb the blast and thereby saved the lives of 8 of his comrades at the expense of his life. Throughout the battle, Sgt. Long's extraordinary heroism, courage and supreme devotion to his men were in the finest tradition of the military service, and reflect great credit upon himself and the U.S. Army.
Donald's Medal of Honor was issued on the 13th of April, 1968 and on the 29th of May, 2016, a portion of State Route 93 from the Village of Oak Hill, Ohio, to the Jackson County line was named the “Sgt Donald Russell Long, Medal of Honor Recipient, Memorial Highway” in his honor. Donald Russell Long was 26 years old at the time of his death and he is buried in the Union Baptist Church Cemetery in Blackfork, Ohio.