Massey, Marvin H.

Marvin H. Massey was born on 11 August 1937 in Columbia, Tennessee. Lieuteneant Massey was commissioned in the US Army Signal Corps in 1959. On 17 October 1967, during his first combat tour in Vietnam with the 5th Special Forces Group, Captain Massey reacted quickly to the crash site of an USAF L-19 Observation Aircraft. Upon finding the USAF pilot injured and trappped in his burning aircraft, CPT Massey, with total disregard to his own safety, climbed the burning wing to enter the cockpit. Using his own hands and his carbine stock for tools, he extracted the critically wounded pilot from the wreakage and placed him on the ground next to the burning aircraft. Because of the condition of the wounded pilot's broken bones, he could be moved no further without causing irrreparable harm. Using his own body to shield the pilot from the intense heat of the fire, CPT Massey administered comfort and first aid. A unit medic, afraid to approach the burning aircarft, tossed him a First Aid bag, from which he administered morphine to help the pilot endure his pain. The burning L-19, still armed with intact rocket pods, and unexpended ammunition spilled in the field, did not drive CPT Massey from the scene, even when he was ordered to retreat for his own safety. For the next twenty minutes, CPT Massey refused the order to leave time and time again, and continued to administer to the wounded pilot until a rescue helicopter arrived on the scene. CPT Massey assisted the medics in loading the pilot for air evacuation to the  nearest MASH unit. Immediately after the air evac helicopter took off, the L-19 exploded. Captain Marvin Massey was thereby awarded the Soldier's Medal for immeasurable courage and extraordinary valor. LTC Massey retired from the US Army in 1983 and lived in the Huntsville, Alabama area until he died on 28 July 2009.