Harold Bascom Durham was born on October 12, 1942 in Rocky Mount, North Carolina. He lived in Tifton, Tift County, Georgia.
2d Lt. Durham, Artillery, distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the cost of his life above and beyond the call of duty while assigned to Battery C. 2d Lt. Durham was serving as a forward observer with Company D, 2d Battalion, 28th Infantry during a battalion reconnaissance-in-force mission. At approximately 1015 hours contact was made with an enemy force concealed in well-camouflaged positions and fortified bunkers. 2d Lt. Durham immediately moved into an exposed position to adjust the supporting artillery fire onto the insurgents. During a brief lull in the battle he administered emergency first aid to the wounded in spite of heavy enemy sniper fire directed toward him. Moments later, as enemy units assaulted friendly positions, he learned that Company A, bearing the brunt of the attack, had lost its forward observer. While he was moving to replace the wounded observer, the enemy detonated a Claymore mine, severely wounding him in the head and impairing his vision. In spite of the intense pain, he continued to direct the supporting artillery fire and to employ his individual weapon in support of the hard pressed infantrymen. As the enemy pressed their attack, 2d Lt. Durham called for supporting fire to be placed almost directly on his position. Twice the insurgents were driven back, leaving many dead and wounded behind. 2d Lt. Durham was then taken to a secondary defensive position. Even in his extremely weakened condition, he continued to call artillery fire onto the enemy. He refused to seek cover and instead positioned himself in a small clearing which offered a better vantage point from which to adjust the fire. Suddenly, he was severely wounded a second time by enemy machine gun fire. As he lay on the ground near death, he saw two Viet Cong approaching, shooting the defenseless wounded men. With his last effort, 2d Lt. Durham shouted a warning to a nearby soldier who immediately killed the insurgents. 2d Lt. Durham died moments later, still grasping the radio handset. 2d Lt. Durham's gallant actions in close combat with an enemy force are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the U. S. Army.
Rank and organization: Second Lieutenant, U. S. Army, Battery C, 6th Battalion, 15th Artillery, 1st Infantry Division . Place and date: Republic of Vietnam, 17 October 1967. Entered service at: Atlanta, Georgia.
Medals and Awards
Medal of Honor
Bronze Star (2)
Army Good Conduct Medal
Vietnam Service Medal
Republic of Vietnam Service Medal
He is buried at Oak Ridge Cemetery in Tifton, Georgia
The Army Field Artillery Officer Candidate School Hall of Fame in Fort Sill, Oklahoma was renamed Durham Hall in his honor.
A highway is named for him in Ocilla, Georgia
The DAV Chapter in Tifton, Georgia is named in his honor
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