Roger H. C. Donlon
CAPTAIN ROGER H. C. DONLON, UNITED STATES ARMY, Detachment A-726, 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne), 1st Special Forces, distinguished himself on 6 July 1964, at Nam Dong, Republic of Vietnam when a reinforced Viet Cong battalion suddenly launched a full scale, pre-dawn attack on the camp. During the violent battle that ensued, lasting five hours, and resulting in heavy casualties on both sides, Captain Donlan directed the defense operations in the midst of an enemy barrage of mortar shells, falling grenades, and extremely heavy gunfire. Upon the initial onslaught, he swiftly marshaled his forces and ordered the removal of the needed ammunition from a blazing building. He then dashed through a hail of small arms fire and exploding hand grenades to abort a breach of the main gate. En route to this position de detected an enemy demolition team of three men in the proximity of the main gate, and quickly annihilated them. Although exposed to the intense grenade attack, he then succeeded in reaching a 60mm mortar position despite a severe stomach wound as was within five yards of the gunpit. When he discovered that most of the men in this gunpit were also wounded, he completely disregarded his own injury, and directed their withdrawal to a location 30 meters away, and again risk his life by remaining behind and covering the movement with the utmost effectiveness. Noting that his team sergeant was unable to evacuate the gunpit, he crawled towards him and, while dragging the fallen soldier out of the gunpit, and enemy mortar exploded and inflicted a wound in Captain Donlan"s left shoulder. Although suffering from multiple wounds, he carried the abandoned 60mm mortar to a new location 30 meters away where he found three wounded defenders. After administering first aid and encouragement to these men, he left the weapon with them, headed towards another position, and retrieved a 57mm recoilless rifle. Then with great courage and coolness under fire, he returned to the abandoned gunpit, evacuated ammunition for the two weapons, and while crawling and dragging the urgently needed ammunition, received a third wound on his leg by an enemy hand grenade. Despite his critical physical condition, he again crawled 175 meters to an 81mm mortar position and directed firing operations which protected the seriously threatened east sector of the camp. He then moved to an eastern 60mm mortar position and upon determining that the vicious enemy assault had weakened, crawled back to the gunpit with the 60mm mortar, set it up for defensive operations, and turned it over to two defenders with minor wounds. Without hesitation, he left this sheltered position, and moved from position to position around the beleaguered perimeter while hurling hand grenades at the enemy and inspiring his men to superhuman effort. As he bravely continued to move around the perimeter, a mortar shell exploded, wounding him in the face and body. As the long awaited daylight brought defeat to the enemy forces and their retreat back to the jungle leaving behind 54 of their dead, many weapons, and grenades. Captain Donlon immediately reorganized his defenses and administered first aid to the wounded. His dynamic leadership, fortitude, and valiant efforts inspired not only the American personnel but the Friendly Vietnamese defenders as well and resulted in the successful defense of the camp. Captain Donlon"s extraordinary heroism, at the risk of his own life above and beyond the call of duty are in the highest traditions of the U.S. Army and reflect great credit upon himself and the Armed Forces of his Country.