MARINE OF THE WEEK:
Maj. Gen. Ray L. Smith
Republic of Vietnam, April 1972
Award: Navy Cross
Smith, a Captain at the time, was serving as an advisor to approximately 250 Vietnamese Marines located on a small hilltop outpost in the Republic of Vietnam. Helping “repulse several savage enemy assaults, and subjected to a continuing hail of fire from an attacking force estimated to be of two-battalion strength, Capt. Smith repeatedly exposed himself to the heavy fire while directing friendly air support. When adverse weather conditions precluded further close air support, he attempted to lead the group, now reduced to only 28 Vietnamese Marines, to the safety of friendly lines. An enemy soldier opened fire upon the Marines at the precise moment that they had balked when encountering an outer defensive ring of barbed wire. Capt. Smith returned accurate fire, disposing of the attacker, and then threw himself backwards on top of the booby-trap-infested wire barrier. Swiftly, the remaining Marines moved over the crushed wire, stepping on Capt. Smith’s prostrate body, until all had passed safely through the barrier. Although suffering severe cuts and bruises, Capt. Smith succeeded in leading the Marines to the safety of friendly lines.” (U.S. Marine Corps photo)
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