First Lt. Jerry Merna is shown shaking hands with President Lyndon B. Johnson
at The White House.
Next in line is 1stLt Chapman, son of Marine Commandant General Leonard F. Chapman; directly
behind him is his mother, Mrs. Leonard F. Chapman, wife of General Chapman.
Jerry Merna shakes hands with Major Robert J. Modrzejewski as 2dLt John J. McGinty looks on.
Shaking hands with President Johnson is 1stLt. Chapman, son of Marine Commandant General and
Mrs. Leonard F. Chapman, USMC
1stLt Gerald F. Merna USMC (Ret.)
Major Robert J. Modrzejewski (l.) and Second Lieutenant John J. McGinty, dual
Medal of Honor recipients at the White House, March 12, 1968. (White House Photo)
As the 3rd Marine Division Asst. Div. Adjutant and Awards Officer (1966-1967), Lt. Merna investigated and verified the two above Medal of Honor recommendations. They were for the same actions that took place during Operation Hastings in Quang Tri Province, mid-July 1966, one of the largest operations at that time in the Vietnam War. Throughout the course of four days of fierce fighting in rugged jungle mountain terrain very close to the DMZ, their company killed over 200 of the enemy, captured large numbers of their weapons and large quantities of medical supplies. Modrzejewski, then a Captain and McGinty a Staff Sergeant, were members of K Co., 3rd Bn., 4th Marines. McGinty estimated that his platoon killed at least 150 North Vietnamese, with one squad alone accounting for 35 to 40 of them, and was quoted as saying: "We certainly messed them up beautifully." Captain Modrzejewski, finally reduced to firing only his .45 caliber pistol, remarked that: "It's not too often that we have to requisition ammunition for a .45 caliber Pistol." Both recipients were also wounded during this Operation.
MEDALS OF HONOR: First dual MOH awardees for Marines since the Korean War, by Gerald F. Merna February 15, 2002,
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