Approved by U.S. Congress    (Public Law 110-181, Section 2877)   Congressional Sponsor:  U.S. Representative Walter B. Jones, NC

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Staff Sergeant Robert W. Hartsock
and Scout Dog Duke

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Staff Sergeant Robert W. Hartsock, U.S. Army, 44th Infantry Platoon Scout Dogs (IPSD), 3d Brigade, 25th Infantry Division. Staff Sergeant Hartsock was born on January 24, 1945 in Cumberland, Maryland. He entered military service at Fairmont, West Virginia. Staff Sergeant Hartsock is the first and only War Dog Handler to have ever received the Medal of Honor in any War.

FEBRUARY 23, 1969 - Dau Tieng Base Camp, Hau Nghia Province, Republic of South Vietnam, and home of the 44th Scout Dog Platoon.


For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Staff Sergeant Hartsock, distinguished himself in action while serving as section leader with the 44th Infantry Platoon Scout Dogs. When the Dau Tieng Base Camp came under a heavy enemy rocket and mortar attack, Staff Sergeant Hartsock and his platoon commander spotted an enemy sapper squad which had infiltrated the camp undetected. Realizing the enemy squad was heading for the brigade tactical operations center and nearby prisoner compound, they concealed themselves and, although heavily outnumbered, awaited the approach of the hostile soldiers.

When the enemy was almost upon them Staff Sergeant Hartsock and his platoon commander opened fire on the squad. As a wounded enemy soldier fell, he managed to detonate a satchel charge he was carrying. Staff Sergeant Hartsock, with complete disregard for his life, threw himself on the charge and was gravely wounded.

In spite of his wounds, Staff Sergeant Hartsock crawled about 5 meters to a ditch and provided heavy suppressive fire, completely pinning down the enemy and allowing his commander to seek shelter. Staff Sergeant Hartsock continued his deadly stream of fire until he succumbed to his wounds.

Staff Sergeant Hartsock's extraordinary heroism and profound concern for the lives of his fellow soldiers were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit on him, his unit, and the U.S. Army.

NOTE 1: The 44th Scout Dog Handlers aggressively defended the K9 Kennel compound inside the Michelin Rubber Tree Plantation. There were no Scout Dogs reported killed in action during the vicious battle that ensued that night and morning INSIDE the base camp.

NOTE 2: When the (9-hour) battle of Dau Tieng Base Camp ended, except for clean-up operations, the following numbers of medals for heroism was awarded:

  • Medal of Honor - 1

  • Silver Star - 6

  • Bronze Star - 15

  • Army Commendation Medal - 7