Corporal Richard W.
Navy Cross Citation
"For extraordinary heroism while serving as a Machine Gun Squad Leader with Company
M, Third Battalion, Fifth Marines, First Marine Division (Reinforced), in the Republic of
Vietnam on the afternoon of 8 November 1967. During Operation Essex, Corporal Duncan's
company was attempting to seize a small but heavily fortified village in Quang Nam
Province when it suddenly came under intense mortar and automatic weapons fire which
killed the acting platoon commander and seven other Marines, and temporarily pinned down
the lead platoon in a rice paddy. Quickly assessing the situation, Corporal Duncan
displayed unusual courage, leadership and composure under fire, as he maneuvered his
machine gun team across the open area to a position behind a dike. He directed a heavy
volume of fire against the North Vietnamese Army force, suppressing its fire sufficiently
to enable the Marines lying in the open field to move to relatively safe positions. As he
was moving his team back to rejoin the platoon, he was painfully wounded. When a defensive
perimeter was established and his squad was assigned to provide cover for the left flank,
he ignored his own injury as he deployed his men and moved along the perimeter to insure
their firing positions provided maximum security for their sector against hostile attacks.
As darkness fell, the enemy force launched an assault but was repulsed by the extremely
heavy volume of fire from Corporal Duncan's team. The enemy then commenced a grenade
attack to destroy the Marines' firing positions. Observing one of his men completely
exposed to the incoming grenades, Corporal Duncan, completely disregarding his own safety
and intense pain of his wound, moved to aid his fellow Marine. When a grenade landed
nearby, he fearlessly used his own body to shield the man. He repeatedly exposed himself
to the enemy's fire, as he moved into the open to deliver covering fire while the squad
reached more secure positions. After all members of his team had reached safety, Corporal
Duncan was mortally wounded as he advanced to join his men at the new position. His
bravery and daring actions throughout the engagement inspired his men to steadfastly
maintain their position and repulse the fanatical enemy assault. By his courageous
fighting spirit, bold initiative and unswerving devotion to duty at great personal risk,
he upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval service.
He gallantly gave his life for his country."