Navy Cross

Caine, Lawrence B., III

For extraordinary heroism while serving as a Weapons Squad Leader with Company I, Third Battalion, Fifth Marines, First Marine Division (Reinforced) in the Republic of Vietnam on 13 May 1967. During Operation UNION, Corporal Caine's squad was providing covering fire during a recovery operation of Marine dead and wounded, when he observed a large force of well entrenched enemy forces to his front.  From their positions, the enemy was able to cover an area of over 2,000 meters in width with grazing and interlocking fire.  He quickly took the enemy under fire and killed 20 North Vietnamese Army soldiers in front of his position.  Observing a series of caves adjacent to his he, with complete disregard for his own personal safety, entered them and while searching them accounted for two more enemy killed.  Returning to his position, he continued to employ machine-gun, rocket and small-arms fire with devastating effect upon the enemy.  Upon gaining fire superiority, helicopters were able to successfully evacuate the dead and wounded.  As the battle ensued, he moved his squad into a tree line maintaining accurate and devastating fire on the enemy.  Although painfully wounded during a mortar attack, he refused medical evacuation and continued to defend his company's front until all helicopter evacuation of dead and wounded was completed.   As the numerically superior enemy force advanced on the company position, Company I was ordered to withdraw 200 meters and call air strikes and artillery fire on their former position.  He directed the fire of his squad covering the successful withdrawal of the company with automatic weapons and a 3.5 inch rocket fire from his tree line position.   Corporal Caine was wounded the second time when he was struck by a bomb fragment.   As his squad withdrew, 62 enemy bodies were counted in the intermittent stream bed to his front.  By his intrepid fighting spirit, exceptional fortitude and gallant initiative, Corporal Caine served to inspire all who observed him and contributed in large measure to the success of his unit.  His great personal valor reflected the highest credit upon himself and enhanced the finest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.