Marine Corps Vietnam Tankers Historical Foundation

Marine Corps Vietnam-era Tankers and Ontosmen Have Made History.  Your Historical Foundation is Making it Known.

Citations For Vietnam

Marine Corps Tankers 
Awards of the Navy Cross

 

 


 

 

 

BROWNING, RANDALL A.
Corporal, U.S. Marine Corps
Company A, 3rd Antitank Battalion, 3d Marine Division (Rein.) FMF
Date of Action: September 10, 1967

 

Citation:

For extraordinary heroism while serving as an Ontos Commander with Company A, Third Antitank Battalion, Third Marine Division (Reinforced) in support of the Third Battalion, Twenty-sixth Marines in the Republic of Vietnam on 10 September 1967. While engaged in a search and destroy operation in  the northern sector of Quang Tri Province near the Demilitarized Zone, the Battalion came under a heavy enemy bombardment of artillery and mortar fire. Although painfully wounded by fragments from an artillery round, Corporal (then Lance Corporal) Browning quickly had his injury treated and immediately returned to his Ontos where he learned that his was the only tracked vehicle in operation. Rapidly assessing the situation, he maneuvered his vehicle through the intense hostile fire to a forward position and began delivering highly effective machine-gun and recoilless rifle fire against the enemy. Successfully repulsing the first of several human wave assaults, he remained undaunted by the vicious enemy fire and steadfastly continued to deliver a heavy volume of fire during ensuing fanatical attacks. His aggressive actions repelled the hostile force on each occasion and inflicted heavy losses on the enemy. When his recoilless rifle ammunition was expended and his machine gun became inoperable, Corporal Browning unhesitatingly manned a sub-machine gun and continued to deliver devastating fire on the enemy. Due largely to his fearless initiative during the four hour battle, he was undoubtedly instrumental in thwarting the enemy's attempt to overrun the battalion's position and prevented the capture, injury or possible death of many Marines. By his resolute determination, dauntless courage and selfless devotion to  duty at great personal risk, Corporal Browning inspired all who observed him and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and of the United States Naval Service.
 

 

 

 

DANNER, DAVID J.
Sergeant, U.S. Marine Corps
Company A, 3d Tank Battalion, 3d Marine Division (Rein.) FMF
Date of Action: May 8, 1967

 

Citation:

The Navy Cross is presented to David J. Danner, Sergeant, U.S. Marine Corps, for extraordinary heroism as a Tank Maintenance Man and Crewman with Company A, Third Tank Battalion, Third Marine Division (Reinforced), Fleet Marine Force, in connection with operations against the enemy in the Republic of Vietnam on 8 May 1967. While operating in support of the First Battalion, Fourth Marines, Sergeant Danner's tank was hit and heavily damaged by enemy fire during a savage mortar and infantry attack on the battalion's positions at Gio Linh by a 400-man North Vietnamese Army force. Although wounded himself, Sergeant Danner helped his dazed and wounded fellow crewmen from the wreckage to the medical aid station. Realizing that enemy soldiers were in the Command Post area, having penetrated the defensive perimeter during their initial assault, he refused first aid and resolutely returned to his disabled tank to retrieve a .30-caliber machine gun. Mounting the weapon on the ground, he commenced delivering a heavy volume of fire on the attackers. With complete disregard for his own safety, he repeatedly left his position to deliver badly needed ammunition to the infantrymen in the fighting holes and to assist in moving casualties to safer positions. On one occasion, observing a seriously wounded Marine in need of immediate medical treatment, Sergeant Danner carried the man through intense enemy fire to the Corpsman's bunker where he could receive life-saving first aid, which prevented him from bleeding to death. Demonstrating uncommon courage and tenacity, he then returned to his machine gun where he continued to provide covering fire for his comrades, moving his weapon to alternate positions in order to deliver maximum fire on the enemy. Although in extreme pain from fragment wounds in his arms and back and suffering severe burns and a loss of hearing as a result of an explosion, he selflessly disregarded his own welfare throughout the vicious fire fight in order to assist his comrades in repulsing the North Vietnamese attack. By his exceptional professional skill and bold initiative, he personally killed fifteen enemy soldiers and undoubtedly wounded many more. Sergeant Danner's daring and heroic actions at great personal risk, inspiring leadership, and unwavering devotion to duty reflected great credit upon himself and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and of the United States Naval Service.
 

 

 

RIENSCHE, HAROLD A.
Staff Sergeant, U.S. Marine Corps
Company B, 3d Tank Battalion, 3d Marine Division (Rein.) FMF
Date of Action: March 24, 1969


 

Citation:

The Navy Cross is presented to Harold A. Riensche, Staff Sergeant, U.S. Marine Corps, for extraordinary heroism while serving as Maintenance Chief with Company B, Third Tank Battalion, Third Marine Division (Reinforced), Fleet Marine Force, in the Republic of Vietnam on 24 March 1969. Staff Sergeant Riensche and his four-man crew were embarked aboard an M51 Tank Retriever assigned the recovery of a disabled tank located near Dong Ha, when their vehicle detonated a mine and sustained extensive damage. While repairing the retriever, the Marines came under a heavy volume of automatic weapons fire from a North Vietnamese Army platoon occupying well-concealed emplacements in the tall elephant grass nearby. In the initial burst of fire which came from all sides, two of Staff Sergeant Riensche's crew were killed and two wounded, leaving him the sole defender of the retriever. Although in a dangerously exposed position, he commenced returning fire with a mounted .50 caliber machine gun. When a hostile round rendered the weapon inoperable, he moved across the top of the tracked vehicle to an M-60 machine gun, removed it from its mount and, standing in full view of the enemy, continued firing at the advancing North Vietnamese. When the barrel vibrated loose and fell from his weapon, Staff Sergeant Riensche caught the red hot cylinder in mid air and, while reinserting it, sustained serious burns to his hands. Ignoring his painful injury, he resolutely resumed firing all around his vehicle until the machine gun malfunctioned. While attempting to correct the difficulty, he observed a hostile soldier who had maneuvered to a point next to the recovery vehicle and quickly killed the man with his .45 caliber pistol. Unable to pinpoint the location of each North Vietnamese soldier in the gathering darkness, he then commenced throwing hand grenades in all directions, forcing the enemy to withdraw. Following their retreat with grenade launcher fire, Staff Sergeant Riensche, although still a very vulnerable target and vastly outnumbered, tenaciously manned his hazardous position and continued firing on possible hostile emplacements until a friendly tank arrived to render assistance. His heroic and decisive action inspired all who observed him and saved the lives of two fellow Marines. By his courage, aggressive fighting spirit and selfless devotion to duty in the face of grave personal danger, Staff Sergeant Riensche upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.

 

 

THATCHER, CHARLES D.
Lance Corporal, U.S. Marine Corps
Company A, 3d Tank Battalion, 3d Marine Division (Rein.) FMF
Date of Action: May 8, 1967


 

Citation:

The Navy Cross is presented to Charles D. Thatcher, Lance Corporal, U.S. Marine Corps, for extraordinary heroism as a Tank Commander with Company A, Third Tank Battalion, Third Marine Division (Reinforced), Fleet Marine Force, in connection with operations against the enemy in the Republic of Vietnam on 8 May 1967. While operating in support of the First Battalion, Fourth Marines, Lance Corporal Thatcher's tank was hit and heavily damaged by enemy fire during a savage mortar and infantry attack on the battalion's positions at Gio Linh by a 400-man North Vietnamese Army force. During the initial enemy antitank rocket assault, two of his crewmen were killed and one wounded. Although painfully wounded in the back and neck, he courageously reentered the burning tank to remove the dead and wounded and administered first aid to the surviving crewman. For one hour, while awaiting reinforcements, he cared for his wounded companion while fighting off repeated enemy assaults. When he was assured that his comrade had been moved to a secure area, he resolutely returned to his tank and boldly engaged the North Vietnamese alone with his .30-caliber machine gun, inflicting heavy casualties on the enemy. Having expended his machine gun ammunition, he left his disabled tank, retrieved a rifle from a dead infantryman, and continued to deliver a heavy volume of accurate fire on the enemy. Realizing that the infantrymen were dangerously low on small- arms ammunition, he completely disregarded his own safety to carry re-supplies to their fighting holes while under intense hostile fire. With three tanks disabled by the enemy fire, Lance Corporal Thatcher reacted instantly when he observed a North Vietnamese soldier about to fire a rocket at one of the operative tanks. Displaying bold initiative, he killed the enemy as he rushed the tank with his rocket launcher. Throughout the vicious fire fight, he repeatedly risked his own life to assist his wounded companions and provide continuous covering fire. His daring and heroic actions were instrumental in repulsing the North Vietnamese attack. Lance Corporal Thatcher's uncommon courage, inspiring leadership, and unwavering devotion to duty in the face of enemy fire reflected great credit upon himself and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and of the United States Naval Service.

 


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