Preserve the Legacy

Medal of Honor & Victoria Cross Recipient

Jon R. Cavaiani - USA (MOH Citation)

STAFF SERGEANT JON R. CAVAIANI , UNITED STATES ARMY, United States Military Assistance Command, Vietnam Studies and Observations Group Army Vietnam Advisory Group. Staff Sergeant Jon R. Cavaiani distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his own life, above and beyond the call of duty in the Republic of Vietnam during 4 and 5 June 1971. Staff Sergeant Cavaiani was serving as a platoon leader to a security platoon providing security for an isolated radio relay site located within enemy held territory. On the morning of 4 June the entire camp came under an intense barrage of enemy small arms fire from a superior size enemy force. Staff Sergeant Cavaiani acted with complete disregard for his personal safety as he repeatedly exposed himself to enemy heavy fire in order to move about the camp"s perimeter directing the platoon"s fire and rallying the platoon in a desperate fight for survival. Staff Sergeant Cavaiani also returned heavy suppressive fire upon the assaulting enemy force during this period with a variety of weapons. When the entire platoon was to be evacuated, Staff Sergeant Cavaiani unhesitatingly volunteered to remain on the ground and direct the helicopters into the landing zone. Staff Sergeant Cavaiani was able to direct the first three helicopters in evacuating a major portion of the platoon. Due to intense increase in enemy fire, Staff Sergeant Cavaiani was forced to remain at the camp overnight where he calmly directed the remaining platoon members in strengthening their defenses. On the morning of 5 June a heavy ground fog restricted visibility. The superior size enemy force launched a major ground attack in an attempt to completely annihilate the remaining small force. The enemy force advanced in two ranks, first firing a heavy volume of small arms automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenade fire, while the second rank continuously threw a steady barrage of hand grenades at the beleaguered force. Staff Sergeant Cavaiani returned a heavy barrage of small arms and hand grenade fire on the assaulting enemy force but was unable to slow them down. He ordered the remaining platoon members to escape while he provided them with covering fire. With one last courageous exertion, Staff Sergeant Cavaiani recovered a machine-gun, stood up, completely exposing himself to the heavy enemy fire directed at him, and began firing the machine-gun in a sweeping motion along the two ranks of advancing enemy soldiers. Through Staff Sergeant Cavaiani"s valiant efforts, with complete disregard for his safety, the majority of the platoon members were able to escape. While inflicting severe losses on the advancing enemy force, Staff Sergeant Cavaiani was wounded numerous times. Staff Sergeant Cavaiani"s conspicuous gallantry, extraordinary heroism and intrepidity at the risk of his life, above and beyond the call of duty, were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit on himself and the U.S. Army.