Campus Life

Medal Of Honor Recipient, Former Student Dies At 76

Clarence E. Sasser, a Brazoria County native and distinguished veteran of the Vietnam War, earned the nation’s highest military honor in 1969 before studying chemistry at Texas A&M.
By Texas A&M University Division of Marketing and Communications May 15, 2024

A photo of Clarence Sasser, wearing a suit and a pair of eyeglasses, with his Congressional Medal of Honor around his neck. His is walking under a saber arch with a Texas A&M Ross Volunteer.
Clarence E. Sasser was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor in 1969 for his outstanding service in the Vietnam War. A display honoring Sasser was added to the Memorial Student Center’s Medal of Honor Hall of Honor in 2013.

Gabriel Chmielewski/Texas A&M Division of Marketing and Communications


Clarence E. Sasser, a former U.S. Army combat medic, former student of Texas A&M University and longtime employee of the Department of Veterans Affairs, died Monday at the age of 76.

a colorized portrait of Clarence Sasser in dress uniform with the Congressional Medal of Honor around his neck
U.S. Army Spc. 5th Class Clarence Eugene Sasser served in Vietnam as a combat medic with the 60th Infantry Regiment.

U.S. Army

Born Sept. 12, 1947, in the small community of Chenango, Texas, south of Houston, Sasser served with distinction during the Vietnam War, becoming one of only eight Aggies to earn the Congressional Medal of Honor — the nation’s highest military decoration. Sasser is the only former student to earn a Medal of Honor during that conflict, making him the most recent Aggie Medal of Honor recipient and the last living recipient prior to his death on May 13. His name is enshrined in the Memorial Student Center’s Medal of Honor Hall of Honor on the Texas A&M campus alongside seven other Aggies, all of whom fought in World War II.

“I’m an Aggie at heart — always have been and always will be,” Sasser said in 2013 during his Hall of Honor recognition ceremony.

In Vietnam, Sasser served as a medical aidman in the Army’s 60th Infantry Regiment. His tour of duty lasted just 51 days. During a reconnaissance operation in Dinh Tuong Province on Jan. 10, 1968, he and his unit came under heavy attack from enemy forces, sustaining more than 30 casualties within the first few minutes of fighting. Amid the barrage of bullets and rocket fire, Sasser sprinted across an open rice field to render aid to the wounded, continuing to assist his fellow soldiers even after suffering a wound to his left shoulder from a mortar strike.

As described in Sasser’s Medal of Honor Citation, “Despite 2 additional wounds immobilizing his legs, he dragged himself through the mud toward another soldier 100 meters away. Although in agonizing pain and faint from loss of blood, Sp5c. Sasser reached the man, treated him, and proceeded on to encourage another group of soldiers to crawl 200 meters to relative safety. There he attended their wounds for 5 hours until they were evacuated.”

One year later, he was presented with the Medal of Honor by then-President Richard Nixon and was personally offered a scholarship to Texas A&M by university president and fellow Army veteran James Earl Rudder. Having previously studied chemistry at the University of Houston, Sasser elected to continue those studies at A&M, enrolling as a chemistry major in August of 1969. Soon after, he married Ethel Morant and went to work for a Houston-area oil refinery before taking a job with the VA, where he worked until his retirement.

A photo of Clarence Sasser speaking at a podium with members of Texas A&M leadership and the Corps of Cadets behind him.
Sasser addresses the crowd during his Hall of Honor recognition ceremony on Nov. 7, 2013.

Gabriel Chmielewski/Texas A&M Division of Marketing and Communications


Sasser was one of 249 service members to be awarded the Medal of Honor for acts of bravery in Vietnam. He is a Distinguished Alumnus of Texas A&M and holds an honorary Doctorate of Letters from the university, as well as a Core Values Coin Award from The Association of Former Students. In his home county of Brazoria, March 27, 1969 was recognized as Clarence Sasser Day, and in 2010, a statue of Sasser was unveiled as part of a larger veteran’s memorial in front of the Brazoria County Courthouse. As of 2021, a portrait of Sasser hangs in the Texas State Capitol. A replica of Sasser’s Medal of Honor remains on display for public viewing as part of his Hall of Honor display at Texas A&M’s Memorial Student Center.

“Clarence Sasser will always be an American hero,” said Texas A&M President Gen. (Ret.) Mark A. Welsh III. “This great Aggie repeatedly showed unwavering bravery in the face of danger as a combat medic in Vietnam, especially on the day he courageously removed wounded soldiers from a helicopter crash under intense enemy fire. He put the lives of his fellow soldiers before his own, and saved them despite being wounded in the process. His legacy will continue to inspire patriotic Americans for generations to come and his name is permanently woven into the fabric of this remarkable university. Aggies will celebrate him forever. Not just because he earned the Congressional Medal of Honor, but because he represented it so proudly with a life of honor, integrity and service. Rest in peace, Soldier … and thank you.”

Texas A&M System Chancellor John Sharp added, “Clarence brought honor to his country, his family and to Texas A&M. We are so proud to count him as one of our sons of Texas A&M.”

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