MEDAL OF HONOR CITATION
Graphic, Copyright 1999 by Victor Vilionis...with thanks!
PITTMAN, RICHARD A.
Sergeant, United States Marine Corps. For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at
the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as a member of the First Platoon,
Company I, Third Battalion, Fifth Marines, First Marine Division, during combat operations
near the Demilitarized Zone, Republic of Vietnam. On 24 July 1966, 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 enemy force. Hearing the engaged Marine's calls for
more firepower, Sergeant (then Lance Corporal) Pittman quickly exchanged his 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 positions. As Sergeant 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 fifty 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
own 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 a submachine 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his lethal fire until the enemy force had withdrawn.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 own platoon.
Sergeant 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 United States Naval Service.
Lyndon B. Johnson
President of the United States