By Joe Bachman
Medal of Honor recipient Ken Stumpf was honored yesterday at the Heroes Cafe in Wisconsin Rapids. Today, he traveled to Mark Motors in Plover to meet with the Plover Police and Fire departments.
“I’ve met a lot of people, from governors to presidents and I’ve never had the courage to ask for a picture with them,” said Plover Police Chief Dan Ault before asking for a picture with Stumpf. “I would cherish that more than any of them.”
Ken Stumpf was born in 1944 in Neenah, Wis., and he entered the service in April of 1967 at Milwaukee. Stumpf would serve as a Staff Sergeant in the U.S. Army, Company C, 1st Battalion, 35th Infantry, and 25th Infantry Division near Duc Pho in Vietnam. He currently resides in Tomah.
Stumpf was awarded the Medal of Honor for “conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty.”
He was a squad leader of the 3d Platoon, Company C, on a search and destroy mission in Vietnam when his platoon encountered heavy fire. During initial contact, three men were wounded in front of hostile fire. Stumpf left his position and ran through rounds of enemy fire through rain and muddy grounds to reach and tend to his wounded men.
Soon after, Stumpf organized an assault on enemy bunkers, eliminated two, and then ran across more enemy fire in an attempt to eliminate another bunker. Stumpf then tossed a grenade into the bunker only for it to be throw back at him. After taking cover to wait for the first grenade to detonate, he refused to give up. Stumpf unpinned two grenades, held on to them for a few seconds, and then threw them back and eliminated the enemy bunker.
“[they said] You did something above and beyond the call of duty — no, no, that was my duty,” said Stumpf. “I had an obligation to my men. — You look out for your men; the men on your left; the men on your right.”