Unit: L Troop, 3rd Squadron, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment
MOS: 1204 – Armored Reconnaissance Unit Commander
Awards: Silver Star, Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal
Unit awards: Meritorious Unit Citation, Vietnamese Gallantry Cross with Palm device
Note: Track L-66
Enlisted by: Regular
Date of birth: 13-Jan-1942
Hometown: Bellwood, Pennsylvania
Marital status: Married to Ida L. Stephens
Campaign: Vietnam Conflict
Start of tour: 15-Aug-1966
Incident date: 28-Apr-1967
Date of casualty: 28-Apr-1967
Age at death: 25
Cause of death: Hostile, died. Small Arms Fire. Gun or small arms fire.
James Calvin Stephens was on combat operation when hit by hostile automatic weapons fire.
Location of fatality: Binh Duong, South Vietnam
Place of interment: Blair Memorial Park, Bellwood, Pennsylvania, USA
CAPTAIN JAMES CALVIN STEPHENS, ARMOR
28 APRIL 1967
L TROOP, 3rd SQUADRON
11TH ARMORED CAVALRY REGIMENT
Captain Stephens distinguished himself by gallantry in action while engaged in military operation involving conflict with an armed hostile force on 28 April 1967, while serving as Commanding Officer, Troop L, 3d Squadron, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment in the Republic of Vietnam. On this date, Captain Stephens was leading his troop in a search and destroy operation in an area southeast of Dau Tieng when elements of his troop uncovered a segment of a major Viet Cong base camp. Immediately recognizing the extreme importance of the discovery, he directed one platoon to secure that portion of the base camp and directed the remaining platoons to continue searching the extremities of an extensive bunker and tunnel complex. Placing himself well forward with the maneuvering platoons, Captain Stephens expertly led the search and discovered additional parts of the camp. It was soon apparent that the troop had uncovered a regimental size base area. Although the entire troop was already employed in a security role, another offshoot of the base camp was uncovered, requiring further exploration. Desiring to press on with the search, Captain Stephens personally organized and led a small reconnaissance team into the area. As he led his team forward, they were suddenly engaged and pinned down by enemy automatic weapons and small arms fire from Viet Cong occupying well-concealed positions. With complete disregard for his own safety, Captain Stephens gallantly charged directly into the enemy positions leading his men in a counter attack until he fell, mortally wounded by the intense enemy fire. Following the inspirational example of their courageous leader, the soldiers aggressively continued the assault and overran the insurgent positions. Captain Stephens’ determined leadership and valorous actions under enemy fire were responsible for a major defeat of the Viet Cong in that area. Captain Stephens’ extraordinary heroism in close combat against the enemy was in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service an d reflect great credit upon himself, his unit and the United States Army.
Headquarters, II Field Force Vietnam, General Orders No. 917 (1 June 1967)