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Vietnam War - U.S. Army

Riley Leroy Pitts

Details
  • Rank: Captain
  • Conflict/Era: Vietnam War
  • Unit/Command:
    Company C, 2d Battalion, 27th Infantry,
    25th Infantry Division
  • Military Service Branch: U.S. Army
  • Medal of Honor Action Date: October 31, 1967
  • Medal of Honor Action Place: Ap Dong, Republic of Vietnam
Citation
Distinguishing himself by exceptional heroism while serving as company commander during an airmobile assault. Immediately after his company landed in the area, several Viet Cong opened fire with automatic weapons. Despite the enemy fire, Capt. Pitts forcefully led an assault which overran the enemy positions. Shortly thereafter, Capt. Pitts was ordered to move his unit to the north to reinforce another company heavily engaged against a strong enemy force. As Capt. Pitts' company moved forward to engage the enemy, intense fire was received from three directions, including fire from four enemy bunkers, two of which were within 15 meters of Capt. Pitts' position. The severity of the incoming fire prevented Capt. Pitts from maneuvering his company. His rifle fire proving ineffective against the enemy due to the dense jungle foliage, he picked up an M-79 grenade launcher and began pinpointing the targets. Seizing a Chinese Communist grenade which had been taken from a captured Viet Cong's web gear, Capt. Pitts lobbed the grenade at a bunker to his front, but it hit the dense jungle foliage and rebounded. Without hesitation, Capt. Pitts threw himself on top of the grenade which, fortunately, failed to explode. Capt. Pitts then directed the repositioning of the company to permit friendly artillery to be fired. Upon completion of the artillery fire mission, Capt. Pitts again led his men toward the enemy positions, personally killing at least one more Viet Cong. The jungle growth still prevented effective fire to be placed on the enemy bunkers. Capt. Pitts, displaying complete disregard for his life and personal safety, quickly moved to a position which permitted him to place effective fire on the enemy. He maintained a continuous fire, pinpointing the enemy's fortified positions, while at the same time directing and urging his men forward, until he was mortally wounded. Capt. Pitts' conspicuous gallantry, extraordinary heroism, and intrepidity at the cost of his life, above and beyond the call of duty, are in the highest traditions of the U.S. Army and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the Armed Forces of his country.
Medal of Honor Recipient Riley L. Pitts
Medal of Honor Recipient Riley L. Pitts
Additional Details
  • Accredited to: Wichita, Sedgwick County, Kansas
  • Awarded Posthumously: Yes
  • Presentation Date & Details: December 10, 1968
    The White House, presented by Pres. Lyndon B. Johnson to his family
  • Born: October 15, 1937, Fallis, Lincoln County, OK, United States
  • Died: October 31, 1967, Republic of Vietnam
  • Buried: Hillcrest Memorial Gardens Cemetery (MH) (A-31-2) , Spencer, OK, United States
 

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