Medal of Honor recipient Kenneth Stumpf has died at 77

Maj. Gen. William T. Cooley, then the commander of the Air Force Research Laboratory, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, delivers remarks during the McCook Field Centennial ceremony in Dayton, Ohio, Oct. 6, 2017. (Wesley Farnsworth/Air Force)

Retired Army Sgt. Maj. Kenneth E. Stumpf, a Medal of Honor recipient, died Saturday at the age of 77, according to the Congressional Medal of Honor Society.

Stumpf was a specialist on April 25, 1967, when, in Duc Pho, Vietnam, his platoon came under heavy fire and three of his comrades were wounded.

Stumpf, serving at the time as a squad leader for 3rd Platoon, Company C, 1st Battalion, 25th Infantry Division, made three separate trips, under fire, to collect his fellow soldiers, carrying each of them back to friendly lines.

After collecting the wounded, Stumpf reorganized his soldiers and directed them to destroy two enemy bunkers, taking on a third by himself, facing grenades and heavy machine gun fire the entire time.

When asked about his actions that day, Stumpf replied, “I’ve always said I didn’t do anything above and beyond the call of duty. What I did was my duty. I had to do that… it was a responsibility that I had to my men.”

For his heroic actions in Vietnam, Stumpf was awarded the Medal of Honor by former President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1968.

Born in Neenah, Wisconsin, on Sept. 28, 1944, Stumpf was drafted into the Army in 1965. He served three tours in Vietnam and retired as a sergeant major after 29 years of service.

He is survived by three children and numerous grandchildren. A cause of death was not released by the Congressional Medal of Honor Society when the announced Stumpf’s passing.

Rachel is a Marine Corps veteran, Penn State alumna and Master’s candidate at New York University for Business and Economic Reporting.

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Tony Beasley
Tony Beasley writes for the Local News, US and the World Section of ANH.