Kevin A. Wheatley
Warrant Officer II Kevin A. Wheatley distinguished himself on 13 November 1965, while attached for duty with the 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), 1st Special Forces. Warrant Officer II Wheatley was acting as an advisor to a Vietnamese Civilian Irregular Defense Group on a search and destroy mission in the Tra Bong Valley, Republic of Vietnam. The patrol came into contact with Viet Cong elements. Another Australian advisor, Warrant Officer II Swanton, was hit in the chest by Viet Cong fire, and Warrant Officer II Wheatley moved under intense fire in an attempt to drag his comrade to safety. Successful, he and a Vietnamese member of his group carried the wounded man to safety in a wooded area 200 meters away. The Viet Cong, swarming the area, had advanced in a matter of minutes, within 10 meters of the men. The Vietnamese soldier urged Warrant Officer II Wheatley to flee, but he refused. His ammunition expended, he was last seen taking two hand grenades from his belt, pulling the pins, and calmly holding one in each hand waiting for the approaching Viet Cong. Shortly after, two grenades were heard, followed by two short bursts of fire. The bodies of the Australians were found the next morning side-by-side, dead of gunshot wounds. Warrant Officer II Wheatley’s refusal to leave his wounded comrade, even in the face of certain death, was an act od heroism, determination and unflinching loyalty in the face of the enemy that will stand as a testimony to the true meaning of valor.
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