Clarence Sasser, medic awarded Medal of Honor for bravery during Vietnam War, dead at 76

Clarence Sasser

Clarence E. Sasser, a former U.S. Army combat medic who was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his actions during the Vietnam War, died May 13. He was 76.

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Sasser, a former student of Texas A&M University and longtime employee of the Department of Veterans Affairs, died in Sugar Land, Texas, according to the Congressional Medal of Honor Society website.

Sasser was a 20-year-old private first class serving in Vietnam as a medic on Jan. 10, 1968 and leaped off his chopper in the Mekong Delta to assist fellow soldiers, The Washington Post reported. Sasser, who was grazed with a bullet to the leg, raced across open ground, dragging one man to safety through rice paddies, according to the newspaper.

He was struck by a rocket fragment in his shoulder, the Post reported.

“Despite 2 additional wounds immobilizing his legs, (Sasser) dragged himself through the mud toward another soldier 100 meters away,” Sasser’s Medal of Honor Citation read. “Although in agonizing pain and faint from loss of blood, Sp5c. Sasser reached the man, treated him, and proceeded on to encourage another group of soldiers to crawl 200 meters to relative safety. There he attended their wounds for 5 hours until they were evacuated.”

Sasser was awarded the Medal of Honor on March 7, 1969, by President Richard M. Nixon at a White House ceremony that included the highly decorated World War II veteran, Audie Murphy, the Post reported. Sasser left the military three months later after attaining the rank of specialist fifth class.

“It was confirmation to me that I did my job, and that’s how I had to deal with it because, what’s my job?” Sasser later said. “I don’t think what I did was above and beyond. I never have.”

According to Texas A&M, Sasser was offered a scholarship to the university by president and fellow Army veteran James Earl Rudder. Sasser, who previously studied chemistry at the University of Houston, enrolled in the same field at Texas A&M in August 1969.

After graduation he worked at an oil refinery in Houston before taking a job with the Veterans Administration. He worked for the VA until his retirement.

Sasser was born on Sept. 12, 1947, in Chenango, Texas. He was awarded an honorary doctor of letters degree by Texas A&M in 2014, according to the Post. A portrait of Sasser was placed in the Texas Capitol building in 2021.

There are 61 Medal of Honor recipients alive.

Sasser said he took pride in being a combat medic, the newspaper reported.

“My medal was awarded for saving lives rather than taking lives,” he once said. “To me, it makes a difference.”

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