First Lieutenant Frank S. Reasoner, former enlisted Marine and graduate of the U.S. Military Academy, was the second Marine recipient of the Nation’s highest honor, the Medal of Honor for heroism in Vietnam in July 1965. The Medal was presented to his widow on 31 January 1967 by Navy Secretary Paul H. Nitze, in ceremonies held at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.
Frank Stanley Reasoner was born in Spokane, Washington, 16 September 1937, and moved with his parents to Kellogg, Idaho, in 1948. Graduating from Kellogg High School in June 1955, he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps three months before his 18th birthday.
Promoted to private first class after recruit training at the San Diego Recruit Depot in August, he went on to advanced infantry training at Camp Pendleton, California. He was designated an Airborne Radio Operator in 1956 upon completing Airman School, Naval Air Technical Training Center, Jacksonville, Florida, and the Communication Electronics School at San Diego. He was next assigned to Marine Wing Service Group 37, 3d Marine Aircraft Wing, El Toro, California, and while there was promoted to corporal.
He was transferred to the Naval Academy Preparatory School, Bainbridge, Maryland, in 1957, then served as a guard at Marine Barracks, Annapolis, Maryland. He was promoted to sergeant in January 1958, prior to receiving Congressional appointment to the U.S. Military Academy, sponsored by Senator Henry C. Dvorshak of Idaho.
Successfully completing the Academy’s entrance examinations in June 1958, Sgt Reasoner was transferred to the inactive Marine Corps Reserve and enrolled as a cadet. While at the Military Academy, he lettered in baseball and wrestling winning an unprecedented four straight Brigade boxing championships in four different weight classes. Upon graduation, 6 June 1962, he was awarded a BS degree and returned to the Marine Corps as a second lieutenant. He was promoted to first lieutenant in December of the following year.
First Lieutenant Reasoner completed Officers Basic School at Marine Corps Schools, Quantico, Virginia, in January 1963, then embarked for a three-year tour of duty with the Fleet Marine Force in the Pacific area
During his entire overseas tour, he served with the 3d Reconnaissance Battalion. Assigned initially to the 1st Marine Brigade, at Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, he served with Company B, 3d Reconnaissance Battalion, 4th Marines, and moved with his organization to Vietnam in April 1965. On 20 June 1965, he was designated Commanding Officer, Company A, 3d Reconnaissance Battalion, 3d Marine Division, the unit he was with when he was mortally wounded.
A Marine Corps camp in Vietnam was named “Camp Reasoner” and dedicated to his memory. The hand-lettered sign near the gates of Camp Reasoner read: “…First Lieutenant Reasoner sacrificed his life to save one of his wounded Marines. ‘Greater Love Hath No Man’.”
Vietnam War 1965-1973 Medal of Honor