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 Clifford Chester Sims

Clifford Sims winner of the medal of honor in Viet NamClifford Chester Sims was a United States Army soldier and a recipient of America's highest military decoration, the Medal of Honor, for his actions in the Vietnam War.

Clifford Sims joined the Army from Jacksonville, Florida and by February 21, 1968 was serving as a Staff Sergeant in Company D, 2nd Battalion (Airborne), 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division. On that day, during an engagement with enemy forces near Huế in the Republic of Vietnam, Sims threw himself onto a triggered booby-trap device. He was killed in the ensuing explosion, but was successful in protecting the members of his squad.

Sergeant Clifford Sims Citation for the Medal of Honor reads:
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. S/Sgt. Sims distinguished himself while serving as a squad leader with Company D. Company D was assaulting a heavily fortified enemy position concealed within a dense wooded area when it encountered strong enemy defensive fire. Once within the woodline, S/Sgt. Sims led his squad in a furious attack against an enemy force which had pinned down the 1st Platoon and threatened to overrun it. His skillful leadership provided the platoon with freedom of movement and enabled it to regain the initiative. S/Sgt. Sims was then ordered to move his squad to a position where he could provide covering fire for the company command group and to link up with the 3d Platoon, which was under heavy enemy pressure. After moving no more than 30 meters S/Sgt. Sims noticed that a brick structure in which ammunition was stocked was on fire. Realizing the danger, S/Sgt. Sims took immediate action to move his squad from this position. Though in the process of leaving the area 2 members of his squad were injured by the subsequent explosion of the ammunition, S/Sgt. Sims' prompt actions undoubtedly prevented more serious casualties from occurring. While continuing through the dense woods amidst heavy enemy fire, S/Sgt. Sims and his squad were approaching a bunker when they heard the unmistakable noise of a concealed booby trap being triggered immediately to their front. S/Sgt. Sims warned his comrades of the danger and unhesitatingly hurled himself upon the device as it exploded, taking the full impact of the blast. In so protecting his fellow soldiers, he willingly sacrificed his life. S/Sgt. Sims' extraordinary heroism at the cost of his life is in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflects great credit upon himself and the U.S. Army.

Named in his honor, the Clifford Sims Veterans Nursing home is located in Springfield (Bay County) Florida, and opened in 2003.The Clifford Chester Sims State Veterans’ Nursing Home unveiled a Medal of Honor their opening ceremony. The award, which is prominently displayed in the nursing home, honors the hero for which the home is named. U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Clifford Chester Sims was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his conspicuous gallantry by willingly sacrificing his own life to save the lives of his men while serving in Vietnam in February 1968.

“Staff Sergeant Sims made the ultimate sacrifice, and it is because of Americans like him that we enjoy the liberties that we do today,” said Rear Admiral LeRoy Collins Jr., U.S. Navy Reserve (Ret.), Executive Director of the Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs. “Florida cares about its veterans, and this home is a grand gesture to show our appreciation and respect for those who served honorably in our nation’s armed forces.” Collins spoke during the ceremony. Also in attendance to honor Staff Sgt. Sims’ legacy was his widow, Mrs. Mary Sims Parker, and her husband who served in the Army with Sims, Mr. George Parker. Sims’ commanding officer in Vietnam, Maj. Cleo Hogan, U.S. Army (Ret.), also participated in the ceremony by telling the story of Staff Sgt. Sims’ heroism.

Both the Parkers and Maj. Hogan traveled from Kentucky to attend the event. The Patriot Guard Riders, a group that goes above and beyond to show respect for fallen heroes, their families, and their communities, also participated in the ceremony along with the Tyndall Air Force Base Honor Guard and many others. The Clifford Chester Sims State Veterans’ Nursing Home.

761st Tank Battalion    First Lieutenant Vernon J. Baker   Rear Admiral Barry C. Black   Major General Charles F. Bolden, Jr.
Corporal Buddie Branch    Vice Admiral David L. Brewer III   Rear Admiral Erroll M. Brown   Staff Sergeant Edward A. Carter, Jr.  Brigadier General Roscoe C. Cartwright     Rear Admiral Osie V. Combs     Four Star General Benjamin Davis  
Major General Arnold Fields    Rear Admiral Lillian Fishburne    First Lieutenant John R. Fox    Vice Admiral Samuel Gravely, Jr.
Major General James F. Hamlet   Harlem Hellfighters   4 Star General Daniel James Jr.   Private First Class Willy F. James, Jr.
Corporal Harry Johns    Major Robert H. Lawrence, Jr.    Staff Sergeant Aubrey L. McDade, Jr.    Vice-Admiral Ed Moore  
Four Star General Lloyd W. Newton    Captain Joseph N. Peterson   General Colin Powell    Captain Ronald A. Radcliffe  
Admiral J. Paul Reason    Four Star General Edward A. Rice Jr.    Staff Sergeant Ruben Rivers  Clifford Chester Sims  
Robert Smalls    Major General Clifford L. Stanley    Tuskegee Airmen   Lieutenant Colonel Merryl (David) Tengesdal   
Captain Charles L. Thomas      Private George Watson    Major General Leo V. Williams, III     Colonel Charles Young
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