Rodney J. Evans (July 17, 1948 – July 18, 1969) was a Sergeant in the United States Army's 1st battalion of the 12th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division. Evans was killed in action during the Vietnam War in Tay Ninh province. He died protecting other members of his unit from a concealed land mine using his own body, for which he was awarded the Medal of Honor.
Rodney Evans was the adopted son of the Evans family of Florala, Alabama. His parents owned a dry cleaning business. After joining the US Army, Rodney Evans married his High School sweetheart, Barbara Geohagan. Rodney was then sent to Vietnam and successfully completed a full tour of duty.
Upon his return to the United States, he was stationed at Fort Rucker, AL not far from where he grew up. Due to financial constraints his wife lived with her parents and would drive up to Ft Rucker on weekends to pick him and take him home.
On Thursday, September 5th, 1968, Mrs. Evans was killed in a car accident after the accelarator on her car became stuck while traveling to Fort Rucker. Rodney became very depressed, re-enlisted and volunteered for another tour in Vietnam..
Once back in Vietnam, Sgt. Evans gained a reputation for taking great risks in order to protect the men under his command.
Rodney Evans died one day after his twenty-first birthday and is buried in Liberty Hill Cemetery, Florala, Alabama. His name can be found on Panel 20W - Row 014 of the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C..
Two other Medal of Honor recipients, Allen J. Lynch (1967) and John Baca (1970) served in Company D, 1st Battalion, 12th Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division.
Rank and organization: Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company D, 1st Battalion, 12th Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division. Place and date: Tay Ninh Province, Republic of Vietnam, 18 July 1969. Entered service at: Montgomery, Ala. Born: 17 July 1948, Chelsea, Mass.
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Sgt. Evans distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism while serving as a squad leader in a reconnaissance sweep through heavy vegetation to reconnoiter a strong enemy position. As the force approached a well-defined trail, the platoon scout warned that the trail was booby-trapped. Sgt. Evans led his squad on a route parallel to the trail. The force had started to move forward when a nearby squad was hit by the blast of a concealed mine. Looking to his right Sgt. Evans saw a second enemy device. With complete disregard for his safety he shouted a warning to his men, dived to the ground and crawled toward the mine. Just as he reached it an enemy soldier detonated the explosive and Sgt. Evans absorbed the full impact with his body. His gallant and selfless action saved his comrades from probable death or injury and served as an inspiration to his entire unit. Sgt. Evans' gallantry in action at the cost of his life were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the U.S. Army.