Vietnam Cameraman’s Medal of Honor on Display at Smithsonian

The Medal of Honor awarded to Marine Cpl. Thomas Perkins Jr., a combat photographer during the Vietnam War, is now on display a the Smithsonian Museum of American History in Washington, DC. Perkins was awarded the medal posthumously after he was killed in action in Quang Tri Province, Vietnam when he threw himself on a grenade to protect his fellow Marines. It is the U.S. military’s highest personal decoration and has been awarded to fewer than 3,500 recipients in its over 150-year history. Perkins’ medal was donated to the museum by his mother in 2015. It is on display along with his Purple Heart, camera, and photographs, in the ongoing exhibition The Price of Freedom: Americans at War

Lucy Davis is the Digital Media Coordinator for the Mid-Atlantic Regional Center for the Humanities. She studies public history at Rutgers University, Camden.