Medal of Honor Recipient to Speak at Ithaca College

By Alex Butler ’22, October 1, 2019
Decorated Vietnam War veteran Gary Beikirch will discuss leadership learned in battle.

Medal of Honor recipient Gary Beikirch, a retired sergeant in the U.S Army, will speak at Ithaca College on Thursday, October 10, at 7 p.m. in Emerson Suites. Titled “Lessons of Leadership Learned Only in Battle,” the lecture is presented by the Jahn Family Civic Leadership Series and is free and open to the public.

Beikirch is the first Medal of Honor recipient to be hosted through the Jahn Family Civic Leadership Series, which is now in its seventh year. Born in Rochester in 1947, he served as a sergeant in the United States Army from 1967-1971, and was deployed to Vietnam in July of 1969.

When his company was attacked by North Vietnamese forces at Dak Seang Camp, Beikirch put his life in danger in order to provide his fellow soldiers with first aid. He was partially paralyzed when a fragment from an exploding enemy mortar shell struck him near his spine. Despite the injury, he was carried from fallen soldier to fallen soldier, where he provided medical support. As a result of these actions, Beikirch received the Purple Heart and Medal of Honor.

Following his military service, Beikirch attended White Mountain Seminary in New Hampshire and graduated in 1975. He worked as a pastor for several years, and since the mid-1980s, has worked as a guidance counselor at Greece Arcadia Middle School in Rochester.

Since its establishment, the Jahn Family Civic Leadership Series has brought military leaders from around the country to Ithaca College in order to give students, staff, faculty and community members a relevant, insightful look at topics affecting our armed services and our country. The annual lecture series is made possible by the Jahn Family Civic Leadership Fund, established by Robert Jahn Jr. in 2011 to support the ROTC program at Ithaca College.