Thomas J. Kinsman was born on March 4, 1945, in Renton, Washington. After graduating from Onalaska High School in Onalaska, Washington, he entered the United States Army on May 17, 1967. He was sent to Fort Lewis, Washington, and Fort Polk, Louisiana, for training before heading to Vietnam in October 1967.
Private First Class Kinsman received the Medal of Honor for risking his life beyond the call of duty near Vinh Long, Vietnam, while serving as a rifleman with Company B, 3d Battalion, 60th Infantry, 9th Infantry Division, U.S. Army. On February 6, 1968, he was part of a group of eight men who were cut off from their main company during an intense enemy attack. When a grenade was thrown into this group, Kinsman immediately alerted his comrades and then unhesitatingly threw himself on the grenade. He blocked the explosion with his body, saving the other seven men but suffering severe head and chest wounds.
He was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Richard M. Nixon on the White House lawn on May 17, 1969.
There are 72 recipients alive today.
About the Congressional Medal of Honor Society
The Congressional Medal of Honor Society was chartered by Congress in 1958 and consists exclusively of the living recipients of our nation's highest award for bravery in combat, the Medal of Honor. Those who wear this light blue ribbon and Medal around their neck are "recipients" of this prestigious award; they are not "winners." Although it is common to refer to the Medal as the Congressional Medal of Honor, it is simply named the Medal of Honor, although, as stated, the Congress did establish the Society as the Congressional Medal of Honor Society.
Contact: Victoria Kueck