Congressional Medal of Honor Society

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Vietnam War - U.S. Marine Corps

Richard Allan Pittman

Details
  • Rank: Sergeant (rank at time of action: Lance Corporal)
  • Conflict/Era: Vietnam War
  • Unit/Command:
    Company I, 3d Battalion, 5th Marines,
    1st Marine Division (Rein) FMF
  • Military Service Branch: U.S. Marine Corps
  • Medal of Honor Action Date: July 24, 1966
  • Medal of Honor Action Place: near the Demilitarized Zone, Republic of Vietnam
Citation

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. While Company I was conducting an operation along the axis of a narrow jungle trail, the leading company elements suffered numerous casualties when they suddenly came under heavy fire from a well-concealed and numerically superior force. Hearing the engaged marines' calls for more firepower, Sgt. Pittman quickly exchanged his rifle for a machine gun and several belts of ammunition, left the relative safety of his platoon, and unhesitatingly rushed forward to aid his comrades. Taken under intense enemy small-arms fire at point-blank range during his advance, he returned the fire, silencing the enemy position. As Sgt. Pittman continued to forge forward to aid members of the leading platoon, he again came under heavy fire from two automatic weapons which he promptly destroyed. Learning that there were additional wounded marines 50 yards further along the trail, he braved a withering hail of enemy mortar and small-arms fire to continue onward. As he reached the position where the leading marines had fallen, he was suddenly confronted with a bold frontal attack by 30 to 40 enemy. Totally disregarding his safety, he calmly established a position in the middle of the trail and raked the advancing enemy with devastating machine-gun fire. His weapon rendered ineffective, he picked up an enemy submachine gun and, together with a pistol seized from a fallen comrade, continued his lethal fire until the enemy force had withdrawn. Having exhausted his ammunition except for a grenade which he hurled at the enemy, he then rejoined his platoon. Sgt. Pittman's daring initiative, bold fighting spirit, and selfless devotion to duty inflicted many enemy casualties, disrupted the enemy attack, and saved the lives of many of his wounded comrades. His personal valor at grave risk to himself reflects the highest credit upon himself, the Marine Corps, and the U.S. Naval Service.

Additional Details
  • Accredited to: Stockton, San Joaquin County, California
  • Awarded Posthumously: No
  • Presentation Date & Details: May 14, 1968

    The Pentagon (Inner Courtyard), Hall of Heroes, presented by Pres. Lyndon B. Johnson

  • Born: May 26, 1945, French Camp, San Joaquin County, CA, United States
  • Died: October 13, 2016, Stockton, CA, United States
  • Buried: Cherokee Memorial Park, Lodi, CA, United States
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