Memories Of A Man She's Never Met: Trying To Know Lieutenant Jim Gardner

Kim Pruitt


Lieutenant Jim Gardner died on his 23rd birthday, on February 7, 1966, in My Canh, Vietnam, in a place his Soldiers still refer to as “Tiger Field.” He earned the Medal of Honor for his actions that day, ordering his troops to “fix bayonets” and charge across a dry rice paddy, rescuing another company that was pinned down. In the process, he destroyed five enemy bunkers with hand grenades. That night, his Soldiers recovered his body, and he was returned to Dyersburg, Tennessee. In this interview, Kim Pruitt describes what she has learned about her Uncle Jim from his mother (her grandmother), her mom (his sister), or from Veterans who served with him. She recounts several stories about his childhood and his service. She describes how a cuckoo clock Jim made for his mother stopped at the instant of his death, and his mother feeling a sharp pain in her side and knowing that her son had been killed. She recalls how Jim had been a member of the Class of ’65 at West Point but had left the Academy and commissioned through OCS before his former USMA classmates. She describes meeting members of Tiger Force and hearing their memories about her uncle. In 2009, Jim Gardner’s Medal of Honor was donated to the 101st Airborne Division, where it is displayed prominently in the Division Headquarters.


conflicts Vietnam War
topics Leadership Teamwork Camaraderie Injuries Military Family
interviewer David Siry
date 21 May 2024


name Kim Pruitt
specialty LT Jim Gardner's Niece