Charles E. Hosking, Jr. was born on May 12, 1924 in Ramsey, NJ. He joined the Army in 1944 and served in World War II. In 1967, then as a Sergeant First Class, he was serving in Vietnam as a civilian defense adviser with the 5th Special Forces Group.
Forty-five years ago today, a Viet Cong prisoner grabbed a grenade from Hosking, armed it, and began to run towards Hosking’s company command group. He knew there was only one thing he could do to save his comrades, and his heroism and ultimate self-sacrifice were found worthy of our Nation’s highest honor.
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Rank and organization: Master Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company A, 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), 1st Special Forces. Place and date: Phuoc Long Province, Republic of Vietnam, 21 March 1967. Entered service at: Fort Dix, N.J. Born: 12 May 1924, Ramsey, N.J. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. M/Sgt. Hosking (then Sfc.), Detachment A-302, Company A, greatly distinguished himself while serving as company advisor in the III Corps Civilian Irregular Defense Group Reaction Battalion during combat operations in Don Luan District. A Viet Cong suspect was apprehended and subsequently identified as a Viet Cong sniper. While M/Sgt. Hosking was preparing the enemy for movement back to the base camp, the prisoner suddenly grabbed a hand grenade from M/Sgt. Hosking’s belt, armed the grenade, and started running towards the company command group which consisted of 2 Americans and 2 Vietnamese who were standing a few feet away. Instantly realizing that the enemy intended to kill the other men, M/Sgt. Hosking immediately leaped upon the Viet Cong’s back. With utter disregard for his personal safety, he grasped the Viet Cong in a “Bear Hug” forcing the grenade against the enemy soldier’s chest. He then wrestled the Viet Cong to the ground and covered the enemy’s body with his body until the grenade detonated. The blast instantly killed both M/Sgt. Hosking and the Viet Cong. By absorbing the full force of the exploding grenade with his body and that of the enemy, he saved the other members of his command group from death or serious injury. M/Sgt. Hosking’s risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty are in the highest tradition of the U.S. Army and reflect great credit upon himself and the Armed Forces of his country.