Hero profile image

McGuire, Michael R.

Michael Roger McGuire was born on 2 February 1943 in Ventura, California. He was commissioned a second lieutenant in the US Army Field Artillery and entered service on July 6, 1965. After attending the Jungle Warfare School in Panama in 1967, Lieutenant McGuire was assigned to Battery A, 3d Battalion, 319th Artillery in the Republic of Vietnam. The battery was firing a landing zone preparation on 14 August 1967 near Dak To when a CH-47 helicopter passed low and very close to the rear of howitzer number 4. The turbulence caused by the rotor blew sparks from the muzzle flash of the gun into the ammunition ready rack, and ignited the exposed powder bags. These burning bags were blown into the ammunition bunker and the sandbag walls, ammunition containers, and wooden floor and ceiling caught fire immediately. An alarm was spread throughout the fire support base which contained, in addition to the two artillery batteries, the headquarters elements of the 1st and 4th Battalions, 503d Infantry, 173d Airborne Brigade (Separate). Without hesitation or regard for his own safety, First Lieutenant McGuire began moving in and about the bunker and ready rack, pouring water out of five gallon cans upon the ammunition and bunker. The heat from the fire had caused the rounds to reach such a high temperature that the water converted to steam and hissed upon contact with the ammunition. During the next crucial moments, 1LT Mcguire continued to pour water on the burning bunker and at times carried fire scorched artillery rounds to the far side of the parapet and threw the burning containers and sandbags out of the danger area. For his heroic actions on this date, First  Lieutenant Michael McGuire was awarded the nation's highest award for heroism not involving actual conflict with an armed hostile force, the Soldiers Medal. Colonel Michael McGuire's last assignment was with Headquarters, US Army Missile Command in 1992 at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama. Michael McGuire remained in the Huntsville area and was inducted into the Madison County Hall of Heroes in 1997.