ALFRED MAC WILSON (1948 ~ 1969). Medal of Honor Recipient Alfred "Mac" Wilson was born in Olney, Illinois, on January 13, 1948, to Mr. and Mrs. Fred Wilson. The family moved to Odessa, Texas, two years later. Wilson attended Odessa High School, where he ran track and played football before his 1967 graduation.
He joined the Marine Corps in Abilene, Texas, with three friends under the Buddy Plan, which would place friends in the same training platoon, in the fall of 1967. After completing training at San Diego and Camp Pendleton, California, Wilson was deployed to Vietnam on July 21, 1968, as a Private First Class with Company M, Third Battalion, Ninth Marines, Third Marine Division.
On March 3, 1969, his unit returned from a reconnaissance mission near Fire Support Base Cunningham when it was attacked by a concealed enemy force. The center of the column was pinned down by enemy fire and the lead squad began to move to flank the enemy. Wilson was in command of the rear squad, which had to move to provide a base of fire to assist the two other squads. The machine gunner and his assistant in Wilson's squad were seriously injured and unable to operate their weapon. Realizing the importance of the weapon, Wilson and another Marine ran through heavy enemy fire to reach the machine gun and to get it operating again. As they approached the machine gun, an enemy soldier stepped from behind a tree to throw a grenade at the two men. Without hesitation, Wilson shouted a warning to the other Marine and threw himself on the grenade and absorbed the explosion. His sacrifice enabled his unit to continue fighting and eventually defeat the enemy. For his actions, Wilson was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor in addition to a posthumous promotion to Corporal.
The Medal of Honor was presented to his family by Vice President Spiro T. Agnew on April 20, 1970, at the White House. Wilson is buried at Sunset Memorial Gardens Cemetery in Odessa, Texas. His surviving sister, Sue Wilson, lives in San Angelo, Texas; his mother died three months after his death and his father died in 1996.
Bibliography: "Above and Beyond: The Medal of Honor in Texas," Capitol Visitors Center, State Preservation Board of Texas. "Alfred M. Wilson," Permian Basin Vietnam Veterans Memorial, http://www.veteransmemorial.us/bios/heroes.php?name=WILSON,ALFREDM., April 26, 2006.