Mike & H&S Companies 

Third Battalion, Fifth Marines

Veterans of the Vietnam War
Home Up Fisher Duncan Murray Leal Trent Gresko


Corporal Richard W. Duncan

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."