Harry Gaines Hodges (Oct. 10, 1947 - Jan. 14, 1968) was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Edward B. Hodges of Sevierville, TN. He attended the University of Tennessee from 1967 to 1968 while enrolled in the ROTC Ranger Cadet program, the first ROTC Ranger Program at a nonmilitary institution established in 1962. Hodges was the first cadet from the program to be killed in action and the Tennessee Ranger Company provided the honor guard at his funeral in honor of his service and sacrifice.
Hodges served in the United States Navy as part of the United States Naval Construction Battalion, known as the Navy Seabees. He was stationed near Da Nang in the Republic of Vietnam when he and a companion came under attack by an enemy force while conducting sentry duty at night. A grenade was thrown from the dark and Hodges unhesitatingly ran to the grenade in an attempt to throw it away from their position when it exploded. He was killed in his heroic act that saved his friend and was awarded both the Purple Heart and the Silver Star, the nation’s third highest honor.
Hodges' final resting place is in Boyd's Creek Baptist Church Cemetery on Jim Fain Road in Sevier County, Tennessee.
Silver Star Awarded posthumously for actions during the Vietnam War Citation:
The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Silver Star (Posthumously) to Equipment Operator Constructionman Harry G. Hodges (NSN: B-320923), United States Navy, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action while serving with the Security Platoon, Headquarters Company, United States Naval Construction Battalion NINE, in connection with operations against hostile forces in the Republic of Vietnam. During the early morning hours of 14 January 1968, while on duty as sentry in a defensive position at a construction site near Da Nang, Constructionman Hodges and a companion were attacked by the enemy, with a grenade being thrown into their position. Disregarding his own safety by electing not to vacate the position, Constructionman Hodges unhesitatingly placed himself between his comrade and the grenade, and attempted to throw the grenade out of the position. Unable to clear the grenade before it exploded, Constructionman Hodges sacrificed his life to save that of his fellow Seabee. His gallant efforts and bold initiative in the face of extreme danger were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.
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