By Direction

of the

President of the United States


Distinguished Service Cross

Is Awarded 


Ronald J. Riley


Rank and Organization:  First Lieutenant Infantry, Company D, 1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile)

Date and Place:  16 February 1967 to 17 February 1967, Republic of Vietnam

Reason:  For extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations involving conflict with an armed hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam:  First Lieutenant Riley distinguished himself by exceptionally valorous actions on 16 and 17 February 1967 while serving as a platoon leader with elements of the 1st Cavalry Division on a search and destroy mission near Bong Son.  After conducting a sweep along the Song Tam Quan River, the platoon set up defensive positions for the night.  At approximately 2130 hours, the perimeter received an intense mortar, grenade and automatic weapons attack from a large North Vietnamese Army force, which wounded several men at the outset.  Seeing his radio operator hit and lying helpless in an open area, Lieutenant Riley fearlessly rushed to him and carried the stricken soldier through a hail of bullets to cover.  He then began moving around the ravaged perimeter redeploying his men, assisting the wounded and shouting encouragement.  As the insurgent attack intensified, Lieutenant Riley repeatedly exposed himself to call in artillery and air strikes that forced the North Vietnamese to break contact and flee.  When evacuation aircraft arrived, he directed the extraction of the casualties and kept his men alert during the remainder of the night for a possible counterattack.  As the platoon prepared to move out the next morning, it received harassing sniper fire.  Quickly maneuvering his men, Lieutenant Riley succeeded in trapping the enemy soldiers on a small island.  Armed only with a pistol, he gallantly entered the river alone to probe the bank for a cave and killed one sniper who suddenly lunged at him.  Lieutenant Riley and a machine gunner then aggressively engaged and killed five other insurgents in a brief fight.  His unimpeachable valor and assuring composure throughout the battle enabled his platoon to inflect heavy casualties upon a numerically superior hostile force without sustaining any fatalities.  First Lieutenant Riley's extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty 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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