Sims, Ponder Ray


Rank: First Lieutenant

Unit: K Troop, 3rd Squadron, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment

MOS: 1204 – Armored Reconnaissance Unit Commander

Awards: Bronze Star Medal with Valor Device, Purple Heart Medal, Army Commendation Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal

Unit awards: Valorous Unit Award, Vietnamese Gallantry Cross with Palm device

Enlisted by: Reserve

Commission Source: Armor OCS Class 14-66 B1, Fort Knox, Kentucky

Date of birth: 6-May-1942

Hometown: Princeton, Arkansas

Marital status: Married to Monika H. Sims, two daughters

Campaign: Vietnam Conflict

Start of tour: 20-Jun-1967

Incident date: 21-Jul-1967

Date of casualty: 21-Jul-1967

Age at death: 25

Cause of death: Hostile, died. Grenade. Multiple fragmentation wounds.
Ponder Ray Sims died as a result of metal fragment wounds received while a passenger in a military convoy.

Fourteen Blackhorse troopers died in this incident:
CPT William Forman Abernethy
PFC James Francis Bean
PFC John Joseph Campa
PFC Roosevelt C. Curley
SP4 Lawrence Michael Dawson
PFC George Arthur Foster
PVT Thomas Francis Ganion
PFC Douglas Wayne Hill
PFC Frank Daniel Leal
PFC Gary Alfred McLennan
PFC Billy Gene Rodgers
SP4 Richard James Schutz
1LT Ponder Ray Sims
PFC James Lemar Whitfield

Location of fatality: Long Khanh, South Vietnam, YT 430 308

Place of interment: Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia, USA

View this soldier‘s Find a Grave page (opens in a new window)

Vietnam Veterans Memorial panel and row: 23E 104 (view Vietnam Veterans Memorial link in a new window)




19 JULY 1967


First Lieutenant Sime distinguished himself by valorous actions on 19 July 1967, while serving as a platoon leader on a mission to reinforce an armored troop which was heavily engaged in combat with a numerically superior Viet Cong force along Highway 20. Directing his platoon to the head of the reaction column, Lieutenant Sims refused to leave the hazardous position of the commanders track and began directing an extremely accurate and effective barrage of suppressive fire upon the fanatical attackers. Displaying inspirational leadership, Lieutenant Sims courageously remained fully exposed to the hail of enemy fire as he shouted instructions and encouragement to his men. As Lieutenant Sims maneuvered his men into position to repel the enemy attack, his track suddenly was hit by an enemy anti-tank round, wounding him severely. Since the troop commander was also seriously wounded„ Lieutenant Sims assumed command of Troop K and began maneuvering the troop forward. As Lieutenant Sims heroically led his men, another enemy anti-tank round hit his vehicle, fatally wounding him. Throughout the fierce engagement, Lieutenant Sims courage and leadership contributed significantly to repelling the insurgents and minimizing friendly casualties. First Lieutenant Sims personal bravery and devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.
Headquarters, 9th Infantry Division General Orders No. 3850 (4 August 1967)

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