VIETNAMESE CROSS OF GALLANTRY WITH PALM
Only Division in Vietnam
Reliables Earn RVN Valor Award
The 9th Infantry Division was presented the Vietnamese Valor Award-Army Level- during ceremonies July 19, 1968. The medal consisted of the Cross of Gallantry with Palm, the first such decoration given to an American Unit. With more than 40 U.S., Vietnamese, Thai, Korean and Australian military and civilian leaders in attendance, Vietnamese Lieutenant General Le Nguyen Khang attached a red and yellow streamer to the Division colors, symbolizing the award from the President of the Republic of Vietnam. General Khang, Marine Corps Commandant and former 111 Corps commander, next pinned the Cross of Gallantry on Major General Julian J. Ewell, signifying the award to all Old Reliables who served during the period December 1966 through June 1968. The ribbon is authorized for wear with gold border, centered above the right pocket of the khaki or green uniform.
“I accept the honor with humility in the name of the officers and men, living and dead, who fought here to help bring peace, freedom and prosperity, back to Viet-Nam”, General Ewell said. “I would like express our utmost thanks to the brave men of the 9th Division for their glorious victories in Saigon and the Mekong Delta” General Khang said to the massed troops and dignitaries. “The red and blue of the Octofoil has contributed a great deal to the solemn pact of preserving peace and freedom in this country. I thank you for all the people of Viet-Nam.”
The citation accompanying the award honored the Division for “outstanding performance of duty and extraordinary heroism in action against an armed enemy….from December 1966 through June 1968. The 9th Infantry Division has demonstrated great versatility by engaging and defeating the enemy in jungles, rice paddies, mountains and cities,” the citation continued. During this period, the 9th Infantry Division killed over 11,000 Viet Cong insurgents and North Vietnamese invaders. The Old Reliables were praised for their efforts in Operations JUNCTION CITY, AKRON, SANTA FE, ENTERPRISE, CORONADO 1 through 1X, TRUONG CONG DINH, TOAN THANG and PEOPLES ROAD. Twice the Division was credited with helping save Saigon and other cities from invasion. The first was Tet terrorist attacks, the second during the aborted May aggression.
The treacherous Communist Tet aggression brought the 9th Infantry Division new challenges and still greater glory, the citation said. “The Division responded to the enemy attacks with alacrity, force and the spirit of the offensive. In fierce engagements in Saigon, Bien Hoa, Long Binh, Xuan Loc, Ben Tre, My Tho, Vinh Long and Can Tho, the 9th Infantry Division….drove the determined enemy from these cities.
When the Viet Cong and NVA renewed their attacks on Saigon between May 6-13 the 3rd Brigade deployed five battalions to the edge of the city where they blunted numerous attacks and killed 852 enemy In some of the bloodiest fighting of the war.
The citation closed with praise for the Divisions work in the “Other War” civic action. Since the Divisions arrival in country, MEDCAP teams have treated over 350,000 patients and repaired or constructed 31 hospitals and dispensaries and 26 schools.