Lance Corporal Jose L. Rivera, Lima Company

Citation:    For extraordinary heroism while serving as a Fire Team Leader with Company L, Third Battalion, Fifth Marines, First Marine Division in connection with combat operations against the enemy in the Republic of Vietnam. On the night of 26 March 1969, Lance Corporal Rivera and six other Marines from Company L were occupying a listening post approximately 100 yards forward of the company perimeter in Quang Nam Province. Suddenly, the Marines came under a heavy ground attack by a numerically superior enemy force. Lance Corporal Rivera was attempting to alert the company by radio when a hostile hand grenade landed in his position. Without hesitation, he covered the grenade with his helmet and two protective vests and, shouting a warning to his comrades, smothered the explosion with his own body. Although suffering from multiple fragmentation wounds, he ignored his painful injuries and commenced delivering accurate fire at the assaulting enemy, resolutely refusing to leave his position until his comrades had reached friendly lines. His heroic and timely actions and sincere concern for the welfare of his fellowmen inspired all who observed him and were instrumental in saving the lives of several Marines. By his courage, aggressive determination and unswerving devotion to duty in the face of extreme personal danger, Lance Corporal Rivera contributed significantly to the subsequent defeat of the enemy force and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and of the United States Naval Service.