LTC Igor D. Gerhardt (Duke)
Awards received (excluding 9 lesser awards):
Silver Star for gallantry in action (10/1/69)
Awarded for heroic actions as the Battalion Executive Officer in the 4th Battalion, 23d Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division, Republic of Vietnam. He was tasked by the Battalion Commander to locate one of his company commanders whose company was in contact with the enemy and with whom he had lost communications. Major Gerhardt approached the company from the rear as the sound of gunfire and explosions grew louder. One of the platoons of the company had been in contact with a numerically superior enemy force and had suffered several casualties; to include the platoon leader and platoon sergeant. Soldiers in the platoon were disoriented and were withdrawing from their original fighting positions. Major Gerhardt rounded up the members of the platoon and led them back into their combat positions to continue engaging the enemy. He designated new leaders within the platoon and conducted a rapid reconnaissance along the platoon front while under fire from the enemy. While directing the platoon’s fire on the enemy, he organized and led a small team from the platoon to recover the wounded and dead. The recovery of all wounded and dead was done successfully while under small arms fire from the enemy. Major Gerhardt appraised his commander of the situation and was directed to return to the Battalion command center.
Legion of Merit for Exceptional and sustained excellent performance of duty (10/3/81)
Awarded for outstanding service as an Associate Professor in Engineering Mechanics at the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, NY. Included 2 separate tours as an instructor at West Point in the Department of Mechanics for a total of more than 5 years. He was also recognized for a long and distinguished career in the infantry. The award was received during his retirement ceremony at West Point after more than 22 years of service.
OBronze Star with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters and a “V” device for bravery (11/10/69)
Awarded for bravery in connection with military operations against a hostile force 10/17/69 while serving as Executive Officer of the 4th Battalion, 23d Infantry in the Republic of Vietnam. While established at the Tay Ninh Base Camp, the Battalion came under intense rocket fire. Major Gerhardt was wounded on the first rocket attack. Although wounded, he exposed himself to intense fire in order to direct the evacuation of wounded from the Battalion area. In the dark, he entered one of the damaged buildings and was suddenly hit by falling wooden beams as the roof of the building collapsed. Having received several wounds to his arms, chest, and face from falling debris, he helped evacuate soldiers from the building. He then moved severely wounded soldiers by jeep to the camp’s medical facility while rockets were continuing to hit the base camp. Several soldiers’ lives were saved by Major Gerhardt’s heroic actions.
Air Medal with 3 awards and “V” device for heroism (2/3/70)
Awarded for heroism while participating in Aerial flight while serving as the Executive Officer of the 4th Battalion, 23d Infantry on 9/15/69. Major Gerhardt was flying in a command and control helicopter when his Battalion came in contact with a large enemy force. Immediately, he directed artillery and gunship fire on the hostile force. With disregard for his own safety, he made several low level passes over the battle area to locate enemy positions. His valorous actions contributed immeasurably the thwarting of the hostile force.
Army Commendation Medal with 3 Oak Leaf Cluster and 2 “V” devices for heroism (2/10/70)
Awarded for heroism in connection with military operations against a hostile force. Major Gerhardt distinguished himself by heroic actions on 1/18/70, while serving as Executive Officer of the 4th Battalion, 23d Infantry Division in the Republic of Vietnam. Major Gerhardt accompanied a reconnaissance operation in a heavily booby trapped area. Shortly after arriving in the areal two bobby traps were detonated. With complete disregard for his safety, Major Gerhardt entered the area of detonations to lead the men in the completion of their mission.
Purple Heart for wounds received in action (10/19/69)
While under an intense 120 mm enemy rocket attack on 10/17/69 at the Tai Ninh base camp, Republic of Vietnam, Maj Gerhardt was wounded in the arm by shrapnel from one of the first rockets to hit the base camp. He then moved quickly through the base camp looking for injured soldiers. He entered one wooden building that had been damaged by rocket fire. Moving into the building in the dark, he was struck by falling wooden beams as the roof collapsed. Having received several wounds to his arms, chest, and face from falling debris, he helped evacuate soldiers from the building. He then moved severely wounded soldiers by jeep to the camp’s medical facility while rockets were continuing to hit the base camp.
Parachute qualified (US and German jump schools) (military and free fall)
1953, Diploma from Washington-Lee High School, Arlington, VA
1955, Completed Plebe year (freshman) at The Citadel, Military College of South Carolina, SC
1959, B.S. In Engineering, The United States Military Academy, West Point, NY
1969, M.S. In Mechanical Engineering, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
LTC Gerhardt was born in Richmond, VA in 1935. He was raised in Rhode Island during WWII where he completed his elementary education (1940-1946). His family moved to Arlington, VA, where he graduated from high school. Following graduation, his family moved to Charlotte, NC where he went to work for the Duke Power Company. He earned enough money during that one year to attend the Citadel, Military College of South Carolina. While at the Citadel, he applied to enter West Point and was accepted following the end of his plebe year at the Citadel. He attended West Point for four years and graduated in 1959. He was commissioned as a second Lieutenant in the Infantry. After attending Airborne and Ranger Schools, he attended the Basic Infantry Officer’s Course at Ft. Benning and received his first troop assignment to an Armored Rifle Battalion in the 3rd Armored Division in Germany. After two years in the 3rd Armored Division, he arranged for a transfer to the 10th Special Forces Group in Bad Toelz, Germany. The three plus years he spent in Special Forces were the best years of his Army career. While in Special Forces, he developed a wide variety of skills to include being an A Team commander, SCUBA diving instructor, foreign weapons firing (ChiCom), special demolitions, infiltration and exfiltration by submarine in the Mediterranean, cross country skiing, mountain climbing, and high altitude parachute jumping. He returned to the U.S. To attend the Advanced Infantry Officer’s Course at Ft. Benning. From Ft. Benning, he was assigned to Ft. Gordon to command a Basic Training company for the infantry. After one year with Basic Training, he was given a classified assignment in Vietnam which included first attending Pathfinder School. In Vietnam, he was reassigned to be an advisor to the Regional and Popular Forces in Quang Tri Province (at the DMZ). During this one-year period, he accompanied the Sector’s RF company on combat operations along the DMZ. Upon returning to the U.S., he attended the University of Southern California for two years to obtain his Master’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering. It was during this time that he was divorced from his first wife. Then it was back to Vietnam to serve with the 25th Infantry Division, first as a Battalion Executive Officer and then as the Deputy G-3 at Division Headquarters. Upon returning to the U.S., he was assigned to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point as an Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanics. After three years, he was then assigned to NATOS’s Central Army group as a Deputy G-3 in Sechenheim, Germany. From NATO, he was reassigned to Ft. Leavenworth, KS, where he oversaw the writing of the Army’s “How to Fight” manuals. It was this assignment where he met and married his second wife, Brigitte. As a pleasant surprise, he was contacted by the Department of Mechanics and asked to return to West Point to serve as the Department’s Executive Office and Associate Professor. After two years, he was found to have a medical condition (ankylosing spondylitis) that required mandatory separation from military service. He retired in 1981, to begin a career as a consultant in Huntsville, AL. He formed his own company, DG Associates in 1992 and was in business until 2012, when he retired.
The photograph shown below was taken in 2010 at the annual Huntsville Hall of Heroes ceremony.
The Gerhardt Family at the Hall of Heroes presentation: (L-R) Brigitte, Lisa, Duke, David, Kerri, Jackie
Photos below were taken while in the Army. Some were taken in combat while fighting with the Vietcong and North Vietnamese in the Republic of Vietnam
In MAC-V as an advisor to the Vietnamese Reginal and Popular forces in Quang Tri Province
He served more than three years in the 10th Special Forces group, Bad Toelz, Germany
Taught knife fighting in the 3rd Armored Division at Kirchgoens in Germany in 1961
In full dress uniform at West Point in preparation for his graduation parade 1959
Diving in Miami Beach after Graduation from West Point in 1959
Shooting at a Vietcong sniper located in a tree line beside a dried up rice paddy (1968)
Executing a Swan Dive in the West Point swimming pool
West Point Graduation photo (class of 1959)
Training Greek Hellenic Raiding Forces in SCUBA on the island of Crete in the Mediterranean (1964)
Low altitude sky diving from 4,000 feet over Bad Toelz, Germany (1963)