The National Cemetery Administration (NCA) honors and recognizes our Vietnam Era Veterans and their families during our Nation’s commemoration of the anniversary of the Vietnam War. VA, along with more than 9,000 organizations across the country, joined with the Department of Defense as a commemorative partner to help Americans honor our nation’s Vietnam Veterans.
Today we recognize U.S. Army veteran and Medal of Honor recipient Milton Lee Olive III. Pfc. Olive demonstrated his selfless bravery when he sacrificed his life by falling on an enemy-thrown grenade to save his fellow infantrymen during a patrol in Phu Cuong, Vietnam on October 22, 1965.
Olive was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor by President Lyndon B. Johnson on April 21, 1966. President Johnson presented Olive’s father and stepmother with the medal during a ceremony on the steps of the White House.
Olive was born on November 7, 1946 in Chicago, Illinois, but moved to Lexington, Mississippi, where he spent his younger years. He later returned to Chicago, where he enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1964.
Today he is interred in the West Grove Cemetery in Lexington, Mississippi. Olive’s gravestone was the first to display the Medal of Honor (MOH) medallion designed by NCA’s Advisory Committee on Cemeteries and Memorials for those recipients buried in private cemeteries.
Authorized by Congress, established under the Secretary of Defense, and launched by the President in May 2012, the Vietnam War Commemoration recognizes all men and women who served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces from Nov. 1, 1955 to May 15, 1975. Nine million Americans served during this period, and the Commemoration makes no distinction between Veterans who served in-country, in-theater, or were stationed elsewhere during those 20 years. All answered the call of duty. Throughout the year, NCA will participate in honoring Vietnam Veterans, with a special emphasis during the week of March 23 – March 31, 2019.
These national cemeteries will conduct a publicized Vietnam Commemorative ceremony to include a wreath laying and presentation of lapel pins to recognize and honor Vietnam Veterans and their families within the community.