MoH Monday: PFC Lewis Albanese

Jessica Evans
Apr 10, 2023 7:06 AM PDT
2 minute read
lewis albanese


Private First Class Lewis Albanese was a member of the United States Army, who received a posthumous Purple Heart and…

Private First Class Lewis Albanese was a member of the United States Army, who received a posthumous Purple Heart and the prestigious Medal of Honor for his courageous service during the Vietnam War.

PFC Lewis Albanese Background

Born in Vincenza, Italy in 1946, Albanese's family immigrated to Washington State when he was a child. He spent his young adult years in the Seattle metropolitan area and worked at Boeing Aircraft Company. But in 1965, Albanese felt a calling to serve his country, and he enlisted in the Army. He completed BCT at Fort Carson, Colorado. Then he joined Company B, 5th Battalion, 7th Cavalry Division, Airmobile. In 1966, Albanese shipped out to Vietnam, where he would valiantly serve his country. Tragically, Albanese lost his life while serving his country.

Medal of Honor Action

In early 1965, Operation Rolling Thunder began, and the conflict in Vietnam escalated. The U.S. engaged in steady aerial bombardments of North Vietnam, and the north launched numerous counterattacks. To expand U.S. military efforts and slow the spread of communism in the south, President Johnson ordered a surge of troops into the region. Among them was Private First Class Albanese, who arrived in Southeast Asia the following year.

A U.S. Navy strike photograph from Carrier Air Wing 21 (CVW-21) showing burning supply barges in North Vietnam.

As 1966 drew to a close, Albanese and his fellow soldiers were living in constant danger. In the dense Vietnamese jungle, hidden enemy snipers posed a constant threat, and the Americans had to remain vigilant at all times. On December 1st, Albanese and his comrades came under heavy sniper fire, and soon insurgents began to encircle their camp, firing automatic weapons.

In the face of the enemy, Albanese took decisive action, attaching a bayonet to his rifle and charging into the fray. He quickly engaged the snipers and killed at least eight of them, even as he ran out of ammunition. Undeterred, he engaged in hand-to-hand combat and killed two more insurgents. But the enemy was numerous and well-armed. Albanese was fatally wounded while fighting in the trench. Despite his sacrifice, he had successfully slowed the enemy's fire, enabling his platoon mates to advance and take down more of the enemy.

Valor ceremony

Private First Class Lewis Albanese was a fearless soldier who went above and beyond the call of duty during his time in Vietnam. His courageous actions on December 1st, 1966, in the middle of a firefight, earned him the Medal of Honor, the highest military award for valor in combat. Despite being outnumbered and outgunned, he killed at least ten insurgents His actions caused the enemy to slow their fire. This allowed his unit to advance. Even after being fatally wounded, Albanese continued to fight until his last breath. On February 16, 1968, Secretary of the Army Stanley Rogers Resor presented Albanese’s family with his Medal of Honor during a ceremony at the Pentagon.


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