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KINDER, LA (KPLC) -
A monument will be dedicated at 10 a.m. Monday, Feb. 18 at the Kinder-McRill Cemetery in honor of Army First Lt. Douglas B. Fournet, who received the U.S. military's highest decoration, the Congressional Medal of Honor, after he died saving fellow troops in the Vietnam War.
The monument is a joint project of the American Legion Post 244 and the Vietnam Veterans Chapter Chapter 215.
A reception will follow at the American Legion Hall at 219 9th Street in Kinder.
Dr. Mike Karam, who is helping with the dedication, said area veterans as well as local and state officials will attend. The public is invited.
Fournet was born in Lake Charles, but his parents were from Kinder.
"He was killed in 1968 in Vietnam. He put himself on a land mine to save his platoon," Karam said.
Fournet received the posthumous honor in April 1970. The citation was awarded by President Richard M. Nixon.
"The gravesite wasn't marked well at the cemetery and we wanted to do something to draw some attention to it," Karam said.
Karam said the monument is granite and includes a bronze plaque.
Some members of the Fournet family are expected to attend.
Fournet attended McNeese State University.
He was serving as a first lieutenant in Company B, 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Calvary Division in South Vietnam at the time of his death.
He was killed three days before his 25th birthday.
"For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. 1st Lieutenant Fournet, Infantry, distinguished himself in action while serving as rifle platoon leader of the 2nd Platoon, Company B. While advancing uphill against fortified enemy positions in the A Shau Valley, the platoon encountered intense sniper fire, making movement very difficult. The right flank man suddenly discovered an enemy claymore mine covering the route of advance and shouted a warning to his comrades. Realizing that the enemy would also be alerted, 1st Lieutenant Fournet ordered his men to take cover and ran uphill toward the mine, drawing a sheath knife as he approached it. With complete disregard for his safety and realizing the imminent danger to members of his command, he used his body as a shield in front of the mine as he attempted to slash the control wires leading from the enemy positions to the mine. As he reached for the wire, the mine was detonated, killing him instantly. Five men nearest the mine were slightly wounded, but 1st Lieutenant Fournet's heroic and unselfish act spared his men of serious injury or death. His gallantry and willing self-sacrifice are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the U.S. Army."