Mitchell Stout

Accredited to North Carolina, Stout was born February 24, 1950, in Knoxville, TN, and entered service at Raleigh, NC, when he was only 17. He went through paratrooper school and got his wings before the Army discovered his true age and discharged him. By then, he was 18 and simply re-enlisted. Stout deployed for his first tour of Vietnam in 1968 and returned home safely in 1969, but volunteered for a second tour in order to guide younger soldiers.

Just a few weeks into his second tour, on March 12, 1970, Stout gave his life for fellow soldiers. It was three weeks after his 20th birthday. Stout is the only army air defense artilleryman in history to receive the Medal of Honor.

Citation: Sgt. Stout distinguished himself during an attack by a North Vietnamese Army Sapper company on his unit's firing position at Khe Gio Bridge. Sgt. Stout was in a bunker with members of a searchlight crew when the position came under heavy enemy mortar fire and ground attack. When the intensity of the mortar attack subsided, an enemy grenade was thrown into the bunker. Displaying great courage, Sgt. Stout ran to the grenade, picked it up, and started out of the bunker. As he reached the door, the grenade exploded. By holding the grenade close to his body and shielding its blast, he protected his fellow soldiers in the bunker from further injury or death. Sgt. Stout's conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action, at the cost of his own life, are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon him, his unit and the U.S. Army.

The Interstate 75 bridge over the Tennessee River is named for Stout, and the town of Farragut has a beautiful memorial at his gravesite in Virtue Cemetery. Additional memorials are located in front of the Loudon County Courthouse and at Lenoir City Hall and Highland Park Elementary School. At Fort Bliss, on the border of Texas and New Mexico, the large gym and track are named the Mitchell W. Stout Physical Fitness Center.

Knoxville's Virtue Cemetery, where Stout is buried, contains a beautiful War Memorial walkway laid out in a circled star pattern with two flagpoles at the center. Between the rays of the star are five large black carved stones with inscriptions and a list of all Medal of Honor recipients.