CHARLES E HOSKING - MSGT
- DATE OF BIRTH:
- May 12, 1924
- DATE OF CASUALTY:
- March 21, 1967
- BRANCH OF SERVICE:
- South Vietnam
Charles Ernest Hosking, Jr. was born on May 12, 1924, to Charles and Luella Hosking. His home of record is Ramsey, NJ. He had one brother, Robert. Charles attended Ramsey High School. When he was 17, he left before graduating to enter the US Army during WWII and went to language school to further his education.
He married Gloria Walters and had four children - Gail, Janice, Elizabeth and Wesley.
During World War II, Hosking was assigned to the 509th Parachute Battalion of the 82nd Airborne Division. Of the 1,500 men originally in his unit, only 29 survived the war without being either killed or wounded. He fought up the Italian peninsula, scene of some of the bloodiest battles of the war and was finally wounded in the leg by machine gun fire when his position was overrun during the Battle of the Bulge.
Hosking missed duty during the Korean War because of a bazooka accident during training that broke both his legs and left him with numerous shrapnel wounds.
Hosking joined the Green Berets in the early 1960s, when President Kennedy beefed up the anti-guerilla unit. Hosking began the first of three tours of duty in Vietnam in 1961. He was an expert in demolitions and proficient in three languages.
On March 21, 1967, at the age of 42, he was killed in action in the Phoc Long Province. Hosking jumped on the back of a Viet Cong prisoner who was holding a grenade. He wrestled the prisoner to the ground and they were both on top of the grenade when it exploded. He had attained the rank of Master Sergeant (MSGT) and was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor in 1969.
The citation reads:
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. M/Sgt. Hosking (then Sfc.), Detachment A-302, Company A, greatly distinguished himself while serving as company advisor in the III Corps Civilian Irregular Defense Group Reaction Battalion during combat operations in Don Luan District. A Viet Cong suspect was apprehended and subsequently identified as a Viet Cong sniper. While M/Sgt. Hosking was preparing the enemy for movement back to base camp, the prisoner suddenly grabbed a grenade from M/Sgt. Hosking's belt, armed the grenade and starting running towards the company command group which consisted of 2 Americans and 2 Vietnamese who were standing a few feet away. Instantly realizing that the enemy intended to kill the other men, M/Sgt. Hosking immediately leaped upon the Viet Cong's back. With utter disregard for his personal safety, he grasped the Viet Cong in a 'Bear Hug" forcing the grenade against the enemy soldier's chest. He then wrestled the Viet Cong to the ground and covered the enemy's body with his body until the grenade detonated. The blast instantly killed both M/Sgt. Hosking and the Viet Cong. By absorbing the full force of the exploding grenade with his body and that of the enemy, he saved other members of his command group from death or serious injury. M/Sgt. Hosking's risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty are in the highest tradition of the U.S. Army and reflect great credit upon himself and the Armed Forces of his country.
Hosking was survived by his wife, Gloria, and four children. His daughter, Gail Hosking Gilberg, has written a book, Snake's Daughter, about her father.
Sources: Gail Hosking Gilberg (daughter), newspaper clippings and NJVVMF.
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