1497 – John Cabot departed for North America.
1670 – King Charles II of England grants a permanent charter to the Hudson’s Bay Company, made up of the group of French explorers who opened the lucrative North American fur trade to London merchants. The charter conferred on them not only a trading monopoly but also effective control over the vast region surrounding North America’s Hudson Bay. Although contested by other English traders and the French in the region, the Hudson’s Bay Company was highly successful in exploiting what would become eastern Canada. During the 18th century, the company gained an advantage over the French in the area but was also strongly criticized in Britain for its repeated failures to find a northwest passage out of Hudson Bay. After France’s loss of Canada at the end of the French and Indian Wars, new competition developed with the establishment of the North West Company by Montreal merchants and Scottish traders. As both companies attempted to dominate fur potentials in central and western Canada, violence sometimes erupted, and in 1821 the two companies were amalgamated under the name of the Hudson’s Bay Company. The united company ruled a vast territory extending from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and under the governorship of Sir George Simpson from 1821 to 1856, reached the peak of its fortunes. After Canada was granted dominion status in 1867, the company lost its monopoly on the fur trade, but it had diversified its business ventures and remained Canada’s largest corporation through the 1920s.
1776 – France and Spain agreed to donate arms to American rebels.
1792 – The Second Congress (1791-93) enacted the first Militia Act of 1792, which defined the authority of the President as Commander in Chief, to call out the militia.
1861 – General Winfield Scott wrote to President Lincoln suggesting a cordon capable of enveloping the seceded states and noted that “the transportation of men and all supplies by water is about a fifth of the land cost, besides the immense saving of time.” On the next day Scott elaborated further to General George McClellan: “We rely greatly on the sure operation of a complete blockade of the Atlantic and Gulf ports soon to commence. In connection with such blockade, we propose a power¬ful movement down the Mississippi to the ocean, with a cordon of posts at proper points . . . the object being to clear out and keep open this great line of communication in connection with the strict blockade of the seaboard, so as to envelop the insurgent States and bring them to terms with less bloodshed than by any other plan.” The heart of the celebrated Anaconda Plan which would strangle the Confederacy on all sides was control of the sea and inland waterways by the Union Navy; the strategy of victory was (a) strengthen the blockade, (b) split the Confederacy along the line of the Mississippi River, and (c) support land operations by amphibious assault, gunfire. and transport.
1862 – Confederate forces evacuate Yorktown during the Peninsular campaign
1863 – Stonewall Jackson administers a devastating defeat to the Army of the Potomac and is wounded by friendly fire. In one of the most stunning upsets of the war, a vastly outnumbered Army of Northern Virginia sent the Army of the Potomac, commanded by General Joseph Hooker, back to Washington in defeat. Hooker, who headed for Lee’s army confident and numerically superior, had sent part of his force to encounter Lee’s troops at Fredericksburg the day before, while the rest swung west to approach Lee from the rear. Meanwhile, Lee had left part of his army at Fredericksburg and had taken the rest of his troops to confront Hooker near Chancellorsville. When the armies collided on May 1, Hooker withdrew into a defensive posture. Sensing Hooker’s trepidation, Lee sent Jackson along with 28,000 troops on a swift, 14-mile march around the Union right flank. Splitting his army into three parts in the face of the mighty Army of the Potomac was a bold move, but it paid huge dividends for the Confederates. Although Union scouts detected the movement as Jackson swung southward, Hooker misinterpreted the maneuver as a retreat. When Jackson’s troops swung back north and into the thick woods west of Hooker’s army, Union pickets reported a possible buildup; but their warnings fell on deaf ears. In the evening of May 2, Union soldiers from General Oliver Otis Howard’s 11th Corps were casually cooking their supper and playing cards when waves of forest animals charged from the woods. Behind them were Jackson’s attacking troops. The Federal flank crumbled as Howard’s men were driven back some two miles before stopping the Rebel advance. Despite the Confederate victory at the Battle of Chancellorsville, Union forces soon gained the upper hand in the war in the eastern theater. Scouting in front of the lines as they returned in the dark, Jackson and his aides were fired upon by their own troops. Jackson’s arm was amputated the next morning, and he never recovered. He died from complications a week later, leaving Lee without his most able lieutenant.
1865 – President Johnson offered a $100,000 reward for the capture of Confederate President Jefferson Davis.
1890 – The Oklahoma Territory was organized.
1926 – US military “intervened” in Nicaragua. [see May 3]
1942 – Admiral Chester J. Nimitz, convinced that the Japanese would attack Midway Island, visited the island to review its readiness.
1942 – The Japanese begin the concentration of forces for what will become the battle of the Coral Sea. Their objective is to occupy Port Moresby. Admiral Takagi commands a covering force including the aircraft carriers Zuikaku and Shokaku. Admiral Goto commands the naval support force for the landing, including the carrier Shoho and four heavy cruisers. Admiral Inouye is in command of the main invasion force concentrated at Rabaul. American code breaking allows Admiral Nimitz to concentrate Allied forces to oppose the Japanese forces. Initially these forces include only Admiral Fletcher’s Task Force 17 with the carrier Yorktown. Later Task Force 11 (Admiral Fitch) with the aircraft carrier Lexington and Task force 44 (Admiral Crace) with Australian and American cruisers.
1945 – At noon the German surrender becomes effective. The long, difficult and controversial campaign in Italy is over. Allied forces reach Trieste, Milan and Turin during the course of the day, while others are advancing north toward Brenner Pass where they will link up with US 7th Army forces from the north. Approximately 1 million German soldiers lay down their arms as the terms of the German unconditional surrender, signed at Caserta on April 29, come into effect. Many Germans surrender to Japanese soldiers-Japanese Americans. Among the American tank crews that entered the northern Italian town of Biella was an all-Nisei (second-generation) infantry battalion, composed of Japanese Americans from Hawaii. Early that same day, Russian Marshal Georgi K. Zhukov accepts the surrender of the German capital. The Red Army takes 134,000 German soldiers prisoner.
1945 – The US 14th Corps units advancing west along the Bicol Peninsula of Luzon link up, near Naga, with units from the Legaspi area that have moved east. On this part of the island, Japanese forces have now been scattered.
1945 – The Soviet Union announces the capture of Berlin and Soviet soldiers hoist their red flag over the Reichstag building.
1946 – Marines from Treasure Island Marine Barracks, under the command of Warrant Officer Charles L. Buckner, aided in suppressing the three-day prison riot at Alcatraz Penitentiary in San Francisco Bay. WO Buckner, a veteran of the Bougainville and Guam campaigns, ably led his force of Marines without suffering a single casualty. The Battle of Alcatraz, which lasted until May 4, was the result of an unsuccessful escape attempt at Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary. Two guards—William A. Miller and Harold Stites—were killed along with three of the inmates. Eleven guards and one convict were also injured. Two of the surviving convicts were later executed for their roles.
1952 – The communists rejected U.N. proposals over questions of voluntary repatriation and proposed to withdraw the nomination of the Soviet Union from the Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission if the U.N. Command agreed the forcible repatriation of 132,000 prisoners in exchange for 12,000 held by the communists. Admiral C. Turner Joy, chief UNC delegate at the armistice negotiations, rejected the proposal on behalf of the U.N. Command.
1964 – An explosion of a charge assumed to have been placed by Viet Cong terrorists sinks the USNS Card at its dock in Saigon. No one was injured and the ship was eventually raised and repaired. The Card, an escort carrier being used as an aircraft and helicopter ferry, had arrived in Saigon on April 30.
1965 – A Peking radio broadcast charges that the USSR has joined the “US aggressors” in a “peace negotiation swindle.” Reportedly the Soviets are backing some kind of peace conference before the total withdrawal of US forces.
1966 – In a speech before the US Chamber of Commerce, Defense Secretary McNamara reports that North Vietnmese infiltration of the South is up to 4500 men a month–three times the 1965 level.
1967 – Communist MiG bases at Kep, 37 miles northeast of Hanoi, are bombed. Pilots report heavy damage.
1968 – The U.S. Army attacked Nhi Ha in South Vietnam and began a fourteen-day battle to wrestle it away from Vietnamese Communists.
1970 – American and South Vietnamese forces continue the attack into Cambodia that began on April 29. This limited “incursion” into Cambodia (as it was described by Richard Nixon) included 13 major ground operations to clear North Vietnamese sanctuaries 20 miles inside the Cambodian border. Some 50,000 South Vietnamese soldiers and 30,000 U.S. troops were involved, making it the largest operation of the war since Operation Junction City in 1967. The operation began on April 29 with South Vietnamese forces moving into what was known as the “Parrot’s Beak,” the area of Cambodia that projects into South Vietnam above the Mekong Delta. During the first two days of the operation, an 8,000-man South Vietnamese task force, including elements of two infantry divisions plus four ranger battalions and four armored cavalry squadrons, killed 84 communist soldiers while suffering 16 dead and 157 wounded. The second stage of the campaign began on May 2 with a series of joint U.S.-South Vietnamese operations aimed at clearing communist sanctuaries located in the densely vegetated “Fishhook” area of Cambodia (across the border from South Vietnam, 70 miles from Saigon). The U.S. 1st Cavalry Division and 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, along with the South Vietnamese 3rd Airborne Brigade, killed 3,190 communists in the action and captured massive amounts of war materiel, including 2,000 individual and crew-served weapons, 300 trucks, and 40 tons of foodstuffs. By the time all U.S. ground forces departed Cambodia on June 30, the Allied forces had discovered and captured or destroyed 10 times more enemy supplies and equipment than they had captured inside South Vietnam during the entire previous year. Many intelligence analysts at the time believed that the Cambodian incursion dealt a stunning blow to the communists, driving main force units away from the border and damaging their morale, and in the process buying as much as a year for South Vietnam’s survival. However, the incursion gave the antiwar movement in the United States a new rallying point. News of the operation set off a wave of antiwar demonstrations, including one at Kent State University that resulted in the deaths of four students at the hands of Army National Guard troops. Another protest at Jackson State in Mississippi resulted in the shooting of two students when police opened fire on a women’s dormitory. The incursion also angered many in Congress, who felt that Nixon was illegally widening the scope of the war; this resulted in a series of congressional resolutions and legislative initiatives that would thenceforth severely limit the executive power of the president.
1970 – Student anti-war protesters at Ohio’s Kent State University burned down the campus ROTC building. Ohio Governor James A. Rhodes ordered in the National Guard to take control of the campus.
1970 – Alexander Haig, deputy to presidential assistant Henry Kissinger, requests FBI wiretaps on New York Times reporter William Beecher, Secretary of Defense laird’s military assistant Robert Pursley, State Department counselor Richard Peterson, and Assistant Secretary of State William H. Sullivan. The wiretaps will remain in place until the following February.
1972 – The South Vietnamese 3rd Division, protecting Quangtri Province, panics and collapses within a week. The entire defense north of Hue is left to one brigade of South Vietnamese Marines.
1972 – Secret negotiations between Kissinger, Le Duc Tho, and Xuan Thuy resume in Paris, but with no result. They will meet again sporadically throughout the year.
1975 – US Navy departs Vietnamese waters at end of evacuation.
1992 – Los Angeles began to recover from rioting that had erupted in the wake of the Rodney King-taped beating acquittals; about 2,800 National Guard troops patrolled the city while 3,200 stood by.
1992 – Iraq admits to having had a “defensive” biological weapons program.
1996 – UNSCOM supervises the destruction of Al-Hakam, Iraq’s main biological weapons facility.
1997 – A new national memorial honoring Pres. Franklin D. Roosevelt was officially opened in Washington, D.C., and was dedicated by Pres. Clinton
1997 – In Texas Robert Scheidt surrendered to police and left behind 7 people of the Republic of Texas under the leadership of Richard McLaren. The number of separatists was reduced to 7 from an earlier estimate of 13.
1999 – A US F-16 went down over western Serbia on the 39th night of air strikes. Allied forces rescued the pilot.
1999 – Yugoslav authorities handed over to the Rev. Jesse Jackson three American prisoners of war who had been held for 32 days.
1999 – NATO bombings struck the Obrenovac power plant in Belgrade and blacked out large areas of Serbia. A soft bomb (KIT-18) sprayed graphite over the power station and shorted its circuits. A metalworks factory in Valjevo was hit and missile hit Mitrovica where one woman was killed and several civilians wounded.
2000 – President Bill Clinton announces that accurate GPS access would no longer be restricted to the United States military.
2001 – In China US technical experts examined the US spy plane on Hainan Island.
2002 – A report on Iraq’s oil sales showed that illegal surcharges allowed Iraq to siphon off large amounts for its war chest.
2004 – American hostage Thomas Hamill, kidnapped three weeks ago in an insurgent attack on his convoy, was found by U.S. forces south of Tikrit after he apparently escaped from his captors.
2011 – Osama bin Laden, the founder and head of the Islamist militant group al-Qaeda, was killed in Pakistan shortly after 1:00 am PKT (20:00 UTC, May 1) by U.S. Navy SEALs of the U.S. Naval Special Warfare Development Group (also known as DEVGRU or SEAL Team Six). The operation, code-named Operation Neptune Spear, was carried out in a Central Intelligence Agency-led operation. In addition to DEVGRU, participating units included the U.S. Army Special Operations Command’s 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne) and CIA operatives. The raid on bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, was launched from Afghanistan. After the raid, U.S. forces took bin Laden’s body to Afghanistan for identification, then buried it at sea within 24 hours of his death. The United States had direct evidence that Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) chief, Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha, knew of bin Laden’s presence in Abbottabad, Pakistan. Al-Qaeda confirmed the death on May 6 with posts made on militant websites, vowing to avenge the killing.
2013 – North Korea sentences American Kenneth Bae to 15 years of prison labor for “hostile acts” against the regime. The United States calls for amnesty.
Congressional Medal of Honor Citations for Actions Taken This Day
Rank and organization: Sergeant, Company B, 40th New York Infantry. Place and date: At Williamsburg, Va., 5 May 1862. At Chancellorsville, Va., 2 May 1863. Entered service at: Amesbury, Mass. Birth: Lemington, Maine. Date of issue: 8 July 1896. Citation: This soldier, at Williamsburg, Va., then a corporal, at great personal risk, voluntarily saved the lives of and brought from the battlefield 2 wounded comrades. A year later, at Chancellorsville, voluntarily, and at great personal risk, brought from the field of battle and saved the life of Capt. George B. Carse, Company C, 40th New York Volunteer Infantry.
Rank and organization: Private, Company A, 74th New York Infantry. Place and date: At Chancellorsville, Va., 2 May 1863. Entered service at: Allegheny County, Pa. Birth: Ireland. Date of issue: 29 June 1866. Citation: Volunteered on a dangerous service and brought in valuable information.
BROWNELL, WILLIAM P.
Rank and organization: Coxswain, U.S. Navy. Born: 1838, New York. Accredited to: New York. G.O. No.: 32, 16 April 1864. Citation: Served as coxswain on board the U.S.S. Benton during the attack on Great Gulf Bay, 2 May 1863, and Vicksburg, 22 May 1863. Carrying out his duties with coolness and courage, Brownell served gallantly against the enemy as captain of a 9-inch gun in the attacks on Great Gulf and Vicksburg and as a member of the Battery Benton before Vicksburg.
CRANSTON, WILLIAM W.
Rank and organization: Private, Company A, 66th Ohio Infantry Place and date: At Chancellorsville, Va., 2 May 1863. Entered service at: ——. Birth: Champaign County, Ohio. Date of issue: 15 December 1892. Citation: One of a party of 4 who voluntarily brought in a wounded Confederate officer from within the enemy’s line in the face of a constant fire.
Rank and organization: Captain, Battery 1, 1st Ohio Light Artillery. Place and date: At Chancellorsville, Va., 2 May 1863. Entered service at: New York, N.Y. Born: 5 March 1836, Germany. Date of issue: 17 August 1893. Citation: Fought his guns until the enemy were upon him, then with one gun hauled in the road by hand he formed the rear guard and kept the enemy at bay by the rapidity of his fire and was the last man in the retreat.
Rank and organization: Private, Company A, 74th New York Infantry. Place and date: At Chancellorsville, Va., 2 May 1863. Entered service at: Allegheny County, Pa. Birth: ——. Date of issue: 26 November 1884. Citation: Voluntarily and under heavy fire advanced toward the enemy’s lines and secured valuable information.
Rank and organization: Sergeant, Company A, 66th Ohio Infantry. Place and date: At Chancellorsville, Va., 2 May 1863. Entered service at: Urbana, Ohio. Birth:——. Date of issue: 29 July 1892. Citation: One of a party of 4 who, under heavy fire, voluntarily brought into the Union lines a wounded Confederate officer from whom was obtained valuable information concerning the position of the enemy.
JACOBSON, EUGENE P.
Rank and organization: Sergeant Major, 74th New York Infantry. Place and date: At Chancellorsville, Va., 2 May 1863. Entered service at: New York, N.Y. Birth:——. Date of issue: 29 March 1865. Citation: Bravery in conducting a scouting party in front of the enemy.
SEAMAN, ELISHA B
Rank and organization: Private, Company A, 66th Ohio Infantry. Place and date: At Chancellorsville, Va. 2 May 1863. Entered service at: Logan County, Ohio. Birth: Logan County, Ohio. Date of issue: 24 June 1892. Citation: Was 1 of party of 4 who voluntarily brought into the Union lines, under fire, a wounded Confederate officer from whom was obtained valuable information concerning the enemy.
Rank and organization: Sergeant, Company A, 66th Ohio Infantry. Place and date: At Chancellorsville, Va., 2 May 1863. Entered service at: ——. Birth: Champaign County, Ohio. Date of issue: 16 July 1892. Citation: One of a party of 4 who voluntarily brought into the Union lines, under fire, a wounded Confederate officer from whom was obtained valuable information concerning the enemy.
Rank and organization: First Lieutenant, Company A, 1st New York Cavalry. Place and date: At Chancellorsville, Va., 2 May 1863. Entered service at: New York, N.Y. Birth:——. Date of issue: 27 November 1896. Citation: Volunteered to ascertain the character of approaching troops; rode up so closely as to distinguish the features of the enemy, and as he wheeled to return they opened fire with musketry, the Union troops returning same. Under a terrific fire from both sides Lieutenant Thomson rode back unhurt to the Federal lines, averting a disaster to the Army by his heroic act.
TRACY, WILLIAM G.
Rank and organization: Second Lieutenant, Company I, 122d New York Infantry. Place and date: At Chancellorsville, Va., 2 May 1863. Entered service at: Onondaga County, N.Y. Birth: Onondaga, N.Y. Date of issue: 2 May 1895. Citation: Having been sent outside the lines to obtain certain information of great importance and having succeeded in his mission, was surprised upon his return by a large force of the enemy, regaining the Union lines only after greatly imperiling his life.
BICKHAM, CHARLES G.
Rank and organization: First Lieutenant, 27th U.S. Infantry. Place and date: At Bayong, near Lake Lanao, Mindanao, Philippine Islands, 2 May 1902. Entered service at: Dayton, Ohio. Birth: Dayton, Ohio. Date of issue: 28 April 1904. Citation: Crossed a fire-swept field, in close range of the enemy, and brought a wounded soldier to a place of shelter.
BUSH, ROBERT EUGENE
Rank and organization: Hospital Apprentice First Class, U.S. Naval Reserve, serving as Medical Corpsman with a rifle company, 2d Battalion, 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division. Place and date: Okinawa Jima, Ryukyu Islands, 2 May 1945. Entered service at: Washington. Born: 4 October 1926, Tacoma, Wash. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as Medical Corpsman with a rifle company, in action against enemy Japanese forces on Okinawa Jima, Ryukyu Islands, 2 May 1945. Fearlessly braving the fury of artillery, mortar, and machinegun fire from strongly entrenched hostile positions, Bush constantly and unhesitatingly moved from 1 casualty to another to attend the wounded falling under the enemy’s murderous barrages. As the attack passed over a ridge top, Bush was advancing to administer blood plasma to a marine officer Iying wounded on the skyline when the Japanese launched a savage counterattack. In this perilously exposed position, he resolutely maintained the flow of life-giving plasma. With the bottle held high in 1 hand, Bush drew his pistol with the other and fired into the enemy’s ranks until his ammunition was expended. Quickly seizing a discarded carbine, he trained his fire on the Japanese charging pointblank over the hill, accounting for 6 of the enemy despite his own serious wounds and the loss of 1 eye suffered during his desperate battle in defense of the helpless man. With the hostile force finally routed, he calmly disregarded his own critical condition to complete his mission, valiantly refusing medical treatment for himself until his officer patient had been evacuated, and collapsing only after attempting to walk to the battle aid station. His daring initiative, great personal valor, and heroic spirit of self-sacrifice in service of others reflect great credit upon Bush and enhance the finest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.
*FOSTER, WILLIAM ADELBERT
Rank and organization: Private First Class, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve. Born: 17 February 1915, Cleveland, Ohio. Accredited to: Ohio. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a rifleman with the 3d Battalion, 1st Marines, 1st Marine Division, in action against enemy Japanese forces on Okinawa Shima in the Ryukyu Chain 2 May 1945. Dug in with another marine on the point of the perimeter defense after waging a furious assault against a strongly fortified Japanese position, Pfc. Foster and his comrade engaged in a fierce hand grenade duel with infiltrating enemy soldiers. Suddenly an enemy grenade landed beyond reach in the foxhole. Instantly diving on the deadly missile, Pfc. Foster absorbed the exploding charge in his own body, thereby protecting the other marine from serious injury. Although mortally wounded as a result of his heroic action, he quickly rallied, handed his own remaining 2 grenades to his comrade and said, “Make them count.” Stouthearted and indomitable, he had unhesitatingly relinquished his own chance of survival that his fellow marine might carry on the relentless fight against a fanatic enemy, and his dauntless determination, cool decision and valiant spirit of self-sacrifice in the face of certain death reflect the highest credit upon Pfc. Foster and upon the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life in the service of his country.
BENAVIDEZ, ROY P.
Rank and Organization: Master Sergeant, Detachment B-56, 5th Special Forces Group, Republic of Vietnam. Place and Date: West of Loc Ninh on 2 May 1968. Entered Service at: Houston, Texas June 1955. Date and Place of Birth: 5 August 1935, DeWitt County, Cuero, Texas. Master Sergeant (then Staff Sergeant) Roy P. Benavidez United States Army, who distinguished himself by a series of daring and extremely valorous actions on 2 May 1968 while assigned to Detachment B56, 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), 1st Special Forces, Republic of Vietnam. On the morning of 2 May 1968, a 12-man Special Forces Reconnaissance Team was inserted by helicopters in a dense jungle area west of Loc Ninh, Vietnam to gather intelligence information about confirmed large-scale enemy activity. This area was controlled and routinely patrolled by the North Vietnamese Army. After a short period of time on the ground, the team met heavy enemy resistance, and requested emergency extraction. Three helicopters attempted extraction, but were unable to land due to intense enemy small arms and anti-aircraft fire. Sergeant Benavidez was at the Forward Operating Base in Loc Ninh monitoring the operation by radio when these helicopters returned to off-load wounded crewmembers and to assess aircraft damage. Sergeant Benavidez voluntarily boarded a returning aircraft to assist in another extraction attempt. Realizing that all the team members were either dead or wounded and unable to move to the pickup zone, he directed the aircraft to a nearby clearing where he jumped from the hovering helicopter, and ran approximately 75 meters under withering small arms fire to the crippled team. Prior to reaching the team’s position he was wounded in his right leg, face, and head. Despite these painful injuries, he took charge, repositioning the team members and directing their fire to facilitate the landing of an extraction aircraft, and the loading of wounded and dead team members. He then threw smoke canisters to direct the aircraft to the team’s position. Despite his severe wounds and under intense enemy fire, he carried and dragged half of the wounded team members to the awaiting aircraft. He then provided protective fire by running alongside the aircraft as it moved to pick up the remaining team members. As the enemy’s fire intensified, he hurried to recover the body and classified documents on the dead team leader. When he reached the leader’s body, Sergeant Benavidez was severely wounded by small arms fire in the abdomen and grenade fragments in his back. At nearly the same moment, the aircraft pilot was mortally wounded, and his helicopter crashed. Although in extremely critical condition due to his multiple wounds, Sergeant Benavidez secured the classified documents and made his way back to the wreckage, where he aided the wounded out of the overturned aircraft, and gathered the stunned survivors into a defensive perimeter. Under increasing enemy automatic weapons and grenade fire, he moved around the perimeter distributing water and ammunition to his weary men, reinstilling in them a will to live and fight. Facing a buildup of enemy opposition with a beleaguered team, Sergeant Benavidez mustered his strength, began calling in tactical air strikes and directed the fire from supporting gunships to suppress the enemy’s fire and so permit another extraction attempt. He was wounded again in his thigh by small arms fire while administering first aid to a wounded team member just before another extraction helicopter was able to land. His indomitable spirit kept him going as he began to ferry his comrades to the craft. On his second trip with the wounded, he was clubbed from additional wounds to his head and arms before killing his adversary. He then continued under devastating fire to carry the wounded to the helicopter. Upon reaching the aircraft, he spotted and killed two enemy soldiers who were rushing the craft from an angle that prevented the aircraft door gunner from firing upon them. With little strength remaining, he made one last trip to the perimeter to ensure that all classified material had been collected or destroyed, and to bring in the remaining wounded. Only then, in extremely serious condition from numerous wounds and loss of blood, did he allow himself to be pulled into the extraction aircraft. Sergeant Benavidez’ gallant choice to join voluntarily his comrades who were in critical straits, to expose himself constantly to withering enemy fire, and his refusal to be stopped despite numerous severe wounds, saved the lives of at least eight men. His fearless personal leadership, tenacious devotion to duty, and extremely valorous actions in the face of overwhelming odds were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service, and reflect the utmost credit on him and the United States Army.
KELLER, LEONARD B.
Rank and organization: Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company A, 3d Battalion, 60th Infantry, 9th Infantry Division. place and date: Ap Bac Zone, Republic of Vietnam, 2 May 1967. Entered service at: Chicago, Ill. Born: 25 February 1947, Rockford, Ill. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Sweeping through an area where an enemy ambush had occurred earlier, Sgt. Keller’s unit suddenly came under Intense automatic weapons and small-arms fire from a number of enemy bunkers and numerous snipers in nearby trees. Sgt. Keller quickly moved to a position where he could fire at a bunker from which automatic fire was received, killing 1 Viet Cong who attempted to escape. Leaping to the top of a dike, he and a comrade charged the enemy bunkers, dangerously exposing themselves to the enemy fire. Armed with a light machine gun, Sgt. Keller and his comrade began a systematic assault on the enemy bunkers. While Sgt. Keller neutralized the fire from the first bunker with his machine gun, the other soldier threw in a hand grenade killing its occupant. Then he and the other soldier charged a second bunker, killing its occupant. A third bunker contained an automatic rifleman who had pinned down much of the friendly platoon. Again, with utter disregard for the fire directed to them, the 2 men charged, killing the enemy within. Continuing their attack, Sgt. Keller and his comrade assaulted 4 more bunkers, killing the enemy within. During their furious assault, Sgt. Keller and his comrade had been almost continuously exposed to intense sniper fire as the enemy desperately sought to stop their attack. The ferocity of their assault had carried the soldiers beyond the line of bunkers into the treeline, forcing snipers to flee. The 2 men gave immediate chase, driving the enemy away from the friendly unit. When his ammunition was exhausted, Sgt. Keller returned to the platoon to assist in the evacuation of the wounded. The 2-man assault had driven an enemy platoon from a well prepared position, accounted for numerous enemy dead, and prevented further friendly casualties. Sgt. Keller’s selfless heroism and indomitable fighting spirit saved the lives of many of his comrades and inflicted serious damage on the enemy. His acts were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself and the U.S. Army.
LIVINGSTON, JAMES E.
Rank and organization: Captain, U.S. Marine Corps, Company E, 2d Battalion, 4th Marines, 9th Marine Amphibious Brigade. place and date: Dai Do, Republic of Vietnam, 2 May 1968. Entered service at: McRae, Ga. Born: 12 January 1940, Towns, Telfair County, Ga. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as Commanding Officer, Company E, in action against enemy forces. Company E launched a determined assault on the heavily fortified village of Dai Do, which had been seized by the enemy on the preceding evening isolating a marine company from the remainder of the battalion. Skillfully employing screening agents, Capt. Livingston maneuvered his men to assault positions across 500 meters of dangerous open rice paddy while under intense enemy fire. Ignoring hostile rounds impacting near him, he fearlessly led his men in a savage assault against enemy emplacements within the village. While adjusting supporting arms fire, Capt. Livingston moved to the points of heaviest resistance, shouting words of encouragement to his marines, directing their fire, and spurring the dwindling momentum of the attack on repeated occasions. Although twice painfully wounded by grenade fragments, he refused medical treatment and courageously led his men in the destruction of over 100 mutually supporting bunkers, driving the remaining enemy from their positions, and relieving the pressure on the stranded marine company. As the 2 companies consolidated positions and evacuated casualties, a third company passed through the friendly lines launching an assault on the adjacent village of Dinh To, only to be halted by a furious counterattack of an enemy battalion. Swiftly assessing the situation and disregarding the heavy volume of enemy fire, Capt. Livingston boldly maneuvered the remaining effective men of his company forward, joined forces with the heavily engaged marines, and halted the enemy’s counterattack Wounded a third time and unable to walk, he steadfastly remained in the dangerously exposed area, deploying his men to more tenable positions and supervising the evacuation of casualties. Only when assured of the safety of his men did he allow himself to be evacuated. Capt. Livingston’s gallant actions uphold the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the U.S. Naval Service.
VARGAS, M. SANDO, JR.
Rank and organization: Major (then Capt.), U.S. Marine Corps, Company G, 2d Battalion, 4th Marines, 9th Marine Amphibious Brigade. Place and date: Dai Do, Republic of Vietnam, 30 April to 2 May 1968. Entered service at: Winslow, Ariz. Born: 29 July 1940, Winslow, Ariz. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as commanding officer, Company G, in action against enemy forces from 30 April to 2 May 1968. On 1 May 1968, though suffering from wounds he had incurred while relocating his unit under heavy enemy fire the preceding day, Maj. Vargas combined Company G with two other companies and led his men in an attack on the fortified village of Dai Do. Exercising expert leadership, he maneuvered his marines across 700 meters of open rice paddy while under intense enemy mortar, rocket and artillery fire and obtained a foothold in 2 hedgerows on the enemy perimeter, only to have elements of his company become pinned down by the intense enemy fire. Leading his reserve platoon to the aid of his beleaguered men, Maj. Vargas inspired his men to renew their relentless advance, while destroying a number of enemy bunkers. Again wounded by grenade fragments, he refused aid as he moved about the hazardous area reorganizing his unit into a strong defense perimeter at the edge of the village. Shortly after the objective was secured the enemy commenced a series of counterattacks and probes which lasted throughout the night but were unsuccessful as the gallant defenders of Company G stood firm in their hard-won enclave. Reinforced the following morning, the marines launched a renewed assault through Dai Do on the village of Dinh To, to which the enemy retaliated with a massive counterattack resulting in hand-to-hand combat. Maj. Vargas remained in the open, encouraging and rendering assistance to his marines when he was hit for the third time in the 3-day battle. Observing his battalion commander sustain a serious wound, he disregarded his excruciating pain, crossed the fire-swept area and carried his commander to a covered position, then resumed supervising and encouraging his men while simultaneously assisting in organizing the battalion’s perimeter defense. His gallant actions uphold the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the U.S. Naval Service.
WRIGHT, RAYMOND R.
Rank and organization: Specialist Fourth Class, U.S. Army, Company A, 3d Battalion, 60th Infantry, 9th Infantry Division. Place and date: Ap Bac Zone, Republic of Vietnam, 2 May 1967. Entered service at: Moriah, N.Y. Born: 5 December 1945, Moriah, N.Y. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. While serving as a rifleman with Company A, Sp4c. Wright distinguished himself during a combat patrol in an area where an enemy ambush had occurred earlier. Sp4c. Wright’s unit suddenly came under intense automatic weapons and small-arms fire from an enemy bunker system protected by numerous snipers in nearby trees. Despite the heavy enemy fire, Sp4c. Wright and another soldier leaped to the top of a dike to assault the position. Armed with a rifle and several grenades, he and his comrade exposed themselves to intense fire from the bunkers as they charged the nearest one. Sp4c. Wright raced to the bunker, threw in a grenade, killing its occupant. The 2 soldiers then ran through a hail of fire to the second bunker. While his comrade covered him with his machinegun, Sp4c. Wright charged the bunker and succeeded in killing its occupant with a grenade. A third bunker contained an automatic rifleman who had pinned down much of the friendly platoon. While his comrade again covered him with machinegun fire, Sp4c. Wright charged in and killed the enemy rifleman with a grenade. The 2 soldiers worked their way through the remaining bunkers, knocking out 4 of them. Throughout their furious assault, Sp4c. Wright and his comrade had been almost continuously exposed to intense sniper fire from the treeline as the enemy desperately sought to stop their attack. Overcoming stubborn resistance from the bunker system, the men advanced into the treeline forcing the snipers to retreat, giving immediate chase, and driving the enemy away from the friendly unit so that it advanced across the open area without further casualty. When his ammunition was exhausted, Sp4c. Wright returned to his unit to assist in the evacuation of the wounded. This 2-man assault had driven an enemy platoon from a well prepared position, accounted for numerous enemy casualties, and averted further friendly casualties. Sp4c. Wright’s extraordinary heroism, courage, and indomitable fighting spirit saved the lives of many of his comrades and inflicted serious damage on the enemy. His acts were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself and the U.S. Army.