Army Sgt. Benji Yamane of Oakland was honored yesterday for action that cost him his life March 16 near Hoi An, Vietnam.
A Silver Star, Bronze Star and Purple Heart, awarded posthumously, were accepted by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Bert Yamane, 3231 Sutter St., in ceremonies at the Presidio of San Francisco.
On that fateful morning, Sgt. Yamane's squad was the lead element in a search and clear operation. Sgt. Yamane, moving near the front of his squad, spotted a booby trap directly in front of the point man. He shouted a warning to his men, then turned and shoved a squad member to the ground. The mine was tripped despite the warning.
The citation said Sgt. Yamane's action "taken with utter disregard for his own life, saved the life of the soldier he had shielded from the blast and allowed the other members of his squad to get down and escape injury."
The Bronze Star recognized Yamane's "initiative, zeal, sound judgement and devotion to duty" and said, "Through his untiring efforts and professional ability, he consistently obtained outstanding results."
Sgt. Yamane, 20, was a graduate of Oakland High School and Merritt College and was registered in dental college when he was drafted in September 1966. His parents have operated Bert's Barber Shop, 395 Ninth St., for the past 40 years.