• irvington
  • Essex
  • May 23, 1947
  • February 27, 1969
  • Army
  • RANK:
  • SGT
  • KIA
  • South Vietnam


James P. Hanlon was born on May 23, 1947. His home of record is Irvington, NJ. He was a beautiful baby boy with blond hair and blue eyes. As a small boy he developed a love for fishing which became one of his favorite hobbies.

In his early school years, he attended Seth Boyden School in Maplewood, NJ. He subsequently attended Columbia High School in Maplewood and graduated in 1965.

During his high school years, he played both baseball and football. After graduation his love for the outdoors attracted him to a job working for a well-known nursery where, in a short time, he became foreman.

In 1967, Jimmy was drafted into the US Army and left home for Fort Dix. After basic training, he was transferred to Fort Benning, GA, where he completed his training as a non-commissioned officer. Upon graduation, he received his stripes as Sergeant (SGT).

In October 1968, he left the states for Vietnam. He was assigned to the 1st Air Cavalry, 5th Battalion, Company D.

Three weeks after arriving in Vietnam, he was walking point for his squad when a sniper hit him. He was evacuated to Cam Rahn Bay Hospital where he remained until after Christmas. At the beginning of January 1969, he was sent back to his Company.

On February 27, 1969, he was again the point man leading his squad when he was mortally wounded. He died before the Medical Evacuation team could get him to a hospital. Finally, after many days of waiting his body was returned for burial.

In October 1969, a ceremony was held at Fort Monmouth for "Sarge Jimmy" where he was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Purple Heart, the Air Medal, the Good Conduct Medal, and the Combat Infantry Badge.

Hanlon's Bronze Star citation reads:
For heroism, not involving participation in aerial flight, in connection with military operations against a hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam. Sergeant Hanlon distinguished himself by exceptionally valorous action on 27 February 1969, while serving as a squad leader with Company D, 5th Battalion (Airmobile), 7th Cavalry during a reconnaissance in force mission. When his unit became heavily engaged with a large enemy force, Sergeant Hanlon exposed himself to the intense hostile fire as he placed accurate suppressive fire upon the enemy positions, enabling the remainder of his squad to reach cover. Completely disregarding his own safety, Sergeant Hanlon then charged an enemy bunker. After neutralizing the fortification, he was mortally wounded by an enemy sniper. Sergeant Hanlon's display of personal bravery and devotion to duty was in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service, and reflects great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.

Sources: Helene Reinhardt (mother) and NJVVMF.


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