By Direction

of the

President of the United States


Distinguished Service Cross

Is Awarded 


William D. Nelson



Rank and Organization:  Specialist Four, Company D, 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile)

Date and Place:  6 November 1968, Republic of Vietnam

Reason:  For extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations involving conflict with an armed hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam:  Specialist Four Nelson distinguished himself by exceptionally valorous actions on 6 November 1968 as a medic on a search and clear operations near  Landing Zone Billie.  His company made contact with a large well entrenched North Vietnamese Army force and during the initial barrage, was pinned down by the intense enemy fire and sustained heavy casualties.  With complete disregard for his safety, Specialist Nelson ran across the open terrain to his injured comrades, treated their wounds, and carried them to an ambulance helicopter.  Returning to the battle, he began to lay down an accurate volley of fire on the Communists' positions.  During a brief lull in the fighting, he secured vital medical supplies and as the enemy renewed their attack, again moved unhesitatingly through the bullet-riddled area in response to a call for a medic.  Seeing the company commander lying near a hostile bunker, Specialist Nelson placed himself between the fortification and the officer.  Although wounded severely in the leg, he rapidly discharged an intense volume of fire as a fellow medic feverishly treated the injured commander.  While Specialist Nelson was carrying the officer to the rear, a rocket landed inches from him, instantly taking his life.  Specialist Four Nelson's extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty, at the cost of his life, were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.



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