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AUSTIN, OSCAR P. (1949–1969). Oscar P. Austin, black Medal of Honor recipient, was born at Nacogdoches on January 15, 1949, the son of Frank and Mildred Austin. He graduated from Phoenix High School in 1967 and was inducted into the United States Marine Corps at Phoenix, Arizona, on April 22, 1968. Private First Class Oscar P. Austin was an assistant machine gunner with Company E, Second Battalion, Seventh Marines, First Marine Division,six miles west of Da Nang, South Vietnam, on February 23, 1969. His company was in action during the early morning hours against a large North Vietnamese force. After his post was attacked, he noticed a wounded comrade unconscious in an exposed position. Austin unhesitatingly went to his aid. When a grenade landed near the injured man he leaped between it and the wounded marine and absorbed the effects of the explosion. Badly wounded, he turned to render aid to his fallen comrade and saw an enemy soldier aiming a weapon at the wounded man. Once again he resolutely threw himself between the wounded marine and the enemy soldier and in so doing was mortally wounded. The Medal of Honor was presented to his parents by Vice President Spiro Agnew on April 20, 1970, at the White House.


Committee on Veterans' Affairs, United States Senate, Medal of Honor Recipients, 1863–1973 (Washington: GPO, 1973).

Art Leatherwood

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Art Leatherwood, "AUSTIN, OSCAR P.," Handbook of Texas Online (, accessed December 01, 2015. Uploaded on June 9, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.