The attack continued through the night.
Shields, although now wounded three times,
stayed in the action, repeatedly exposing himself
to the enemy while tossing grenades. During the
morning hours a lieutenant asked for one
volunteer to help him knock out a machine gun
that was spraying the building with lethal effect.
Shields, the boy next door, immediately offered
his services. Although the two men accomplished
what they set out to do, both men were hit and
Shields was killed.
JAMES E. WILLIAMS
Boatswains Mate First Class James E.
Williams spent much of his tour of duty in Viet-
nam as part of the river patrol force. He directed
the operations of a group of four river patrol
boats (PBRs) along the Mekong River.
On 31 October 1966 two Vietcong sampans
suddenly fired on Williams patrol. The patrols
return fire killed the entire crew of one sampan.
Pursuing the other, the patrol maneuvered the
PBRs through heavy small arms fire from VC
forces hidden along the riverbank. Williams
patrol was then confronted in a nearby inlet by
two junks and eight more sampans. The patrols
immediately came under savage attack supported
by fire from heavy automatic weapons ashore.
To make matters worse, when Williams
deployed his group to await reinforcements in the
form of armed helicopters, he and his men ran
into a much larger force of enemy craft. Since the
PBRs obviously were not going to be permitted
the luxury of waiting around for help, Williams
led his group in a counterattack. During the
ensuing action, he exposed himself to enemy fire
with complete disregard for his own safety.
Leading his patrol through intense fire, Williams
and his men damaged or destroyed 50 sampans
and 7 junks before the helicopter arrived.
Williams then directed an attack against the
remaining craft and the enemy ashore.
Demonstrating unyielding courage through the
3-hour battle, Williams was responsible for the
loss or destruction of no less than 65 enemy boats
and numerous VC casualties.
During Williams 8-month tour of duty, the
57 men serving on the four boats he directed
earned a total of 131 combat decorations plus 80
Purple Heart awards.
FRANK S. REASONER
On 12 July 1965 company commander First
Lieutenant Frank S. Reasoner, U.S. Marine
Corps, led a reconnaissance patrol deep into
heavily controlled enemy territory. Suddenly the
patrol came under fire from 50 to 100 VC
insurgents in concealed positions. Reasoner,
at the time, was with the advance party and
point. The slashing fury of the VC machine-gun
and automatic: weapons fire made moving up
impossible for the main body of the party. To
provide covering fire, Reasoner repeatedly
exposed himself to the devastating attack.
Shouting encouragement to his men, he organized
a base of fire for an assault on enemy positions.
He killed two VC and silenced an automatic
weapons position in an attempt to evacuate a
When his radio operator was hit, Lieutenant
Reasoner himself tended his wounds. The radio
operator then tried to reach a covered position
but was hit again. In the face of almost certain
death, Reasoner left cover to help him a second
time and was cut down by machine-gun fire.
The first Navy ship to be named after a Marine
Corps Medal of Honor recipient in Vietnam, USS
Frank S. Reasoner (FF-1063), was commissioned
DOUGLAS E. DICKEY
PFC Douglas E. Dickey of the U.S. Marine
Corps was a member of a platoon taking part in
Operation Beacon Hill. On 26 March 1967 his
platoon engaged in fierce battle with the Vietcong
at close range in dense jungle foliage. Dickey had
come forward to replace a wounded radio
operator. Without warning, an enemy grenade fell
in the middle of the group of men, which included
the immobilized radio operator, the corpsman
treating him, Dickey, and several other marines.
Fully realizing he would be killed, Dickey threw
himself on the grenade and absorbed the complete
force of the explosion. PFC Dickeys personal
heroism, extraordinary valor, and selfless courage
saved his comrades from certain injury and
Another boy from next door had done
CHAPLAIN VINCENT R. CAPODANNO
At midafternoon on 4 September 1967,
Company M, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines, made
contact with forces of the North Vietnamese
Army in Quang Tin Province, Republic of Viet-
nam. The 5th Marines Regimental Chaplain,
Vincent R. Capodanno, LT, CHC, USNR, who