John Bobo enlisted in the U. S. Marine Corps reserve while attending Niagara University in May 1965. After graduation in June of that year, Bobo received a commission as a second lieutenant. After attending the Officer’s Candidate Course and the Basic School at Quantico, Virginia in May 1966, Bobo received orders to the Republic of Vietnam. Upon arrival, he was assigned to command a rifle platoon in India Company.
On March 30, 1967 during Operation Prairie III, Lieutenant Bobo was mortally wounded when a superior number of enemy North Vietnamese soldiers attacked his rifle company’s night ambush position at Hill 70, west of Con Thien, Quang Tri Province, near the demilitarized zone. Having lost his leg, and realizing that he was unable to walk unassisted, Lieutenant Bobo ordered his Marines to withdraw to a more secure position while he stayed behind to delay the enemy’s advance. His award citation reads as follows:
The President of the United States in the name of The Congress takes pride in presenting the MEDAL OF HONOR posthumously to
SECOND LIEUTENANT JOHN P. BOBO
UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS
for service as set forth in the following CITATION:
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as Weapons Platoon Commander, Company I, Third Battalion, Ninth Marines, Third Marine Division, in Quang Tri Province, Republic of Vietnam, on 30 March 1967. Company I was establishing night ambush sites when the command group was attacked by a reinforced North Vietnamese company supported by heavy automatic weapons and mortar fire. Lieutenant BOBO immediately organized a hasty defense and moved from position to position encouraging the outnumbered Marines despite the murderous enemy fire. Recovering a rocket launcher from among the friendly casualties, he organized a new launcher team and directed its fire into the enemy machine gun position. When an exploding enemy mortar round severed Lieutenant Bobo’s right leg below the knee, he refused evacuation and insisted upon being placed in a firing position to cover the movement of the command group to a better location. With a web belt around his leg serving as tourniquet and with his leg jammed into the dirt to curtail the bleeding, he remained in this position and delivered devastating fire into the ranks of the enemy attempting to overrun the Marines. Lieutenant BOBO was mortally wounded while firing his weapon into the main point of the enemy attack but his valiant spirit inspired his men to heroic efforts, and his tenacious stand enabled the command group to gain a protective position where it repulsed the enemy onslaught. Lieutenant BOBO’s superb leadership, dauntless courage, and bold initiative reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.