SPC Joseph Franklin Herndon II

11 November 1982 - 29 July 2004

A Company, 1st Battalion 27th Infantry, "Gunslingers"

Specialist Joseph F. Herndon II was born on November 11, 1982 to Mrs. Virginia Evans. He graduated from Derby High School in Wichita, Kansas, where he met and married his high school sweetheart, Melanie. SPC Herndon completed the United States Army Basic Combat Training and Advanced Individual Training at Ft. Benning, Georgia in October 2002. After distinguishing himself early in his military career during Basic and Advanced Individual Training, SPC Herndon reported to Alpha Company, 1st BN, 27th Infantry, 25th ID (L), Schofield Barracks, HI in December of 2002. While serving with the Gunslingers, SPC Herndon’s accomplishments and performance of a M203 Gunner were peerless. SPC Herndon contributed immeasurably to the numerous Gunslingers missions. Because of his leadership qualities and selfless service, he was always the number one man on every raid mission. He is the man that his squad could always count on and his love for his fellow Soldiers was intense. This is a man who risked his own life to aid two other wounded Soldiers in his fire team and carried them to safety during the Battle of Huwayjah. SPC Herndon contributed deeply to the undying bond that all of the Gunslingers share with each other.

Specialist Joseph F. Herndon II made the ultimate sacrifice for his country when he was mortally wounded from a sniper attack while pulling security during an Informal Operations patrol north of Huwayjah. SPC Herndon performed enthusiastically and courageously during the Alpha Company mission to gather intelligence in the city. As a M203 gunner, SPC Herndon played an invaluable role in guaranteeing the Wolfhound Battalion’s mission success. During the past six months of deployment, SPC Herndon executed complex combat operations to perfection while contributing to the Battalion’s overall mission including the execution of over 100 combat raids and over 180 combat patrols. For his selfless contribution and heroic service in support of the Wolfhound Battalion, SPC Herndon was awarded the Army Commendation Medal with Valor for his heroic actions during the Battle of Huwayjah on April 7, 2004. His first Purple Heart was awarded when he was wounded by heavy RPG-7 fire while fighting in the Battle of Huwayjah. His second Purple Heart was awarded from wounds received on June 27, 2004 when the vehicle he was patrolling was hit by an Improvised Explosive Device in the city of Huwayjah. His third Purple Heart has been posthumously awarded for being mortally wounded on July 29, 2004 during a patrol. SPC Herndon has also been posthumously awarded the Bronze Star Medal, the Nation’s fourth highest award for Valor in Combat. SPC Herndon has been awarded the Combat Infantryman Badge and the 25 Infantry Division (Light) shoulder sleeve insignia.