BMC Donald B. Groce
The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to Chief Boatswain’s Mate Donald B. Groce, United States Navy, for extraordinary heroism while serving as the Advisor to Vietnamese Navy ZIPPO Boat (HG-6533) when that vessel was ambushed by enemy forces in the Republic of Vietnam on 4 September 1970. During the initial moments of the ambush, enemy rockets, recoilless rifle and automatic weapons fire inflicted heavy casualties upon crew members of the ZIPPO boat. The first rocket round wounded Chief Petty Officer Groce in the arms and legs and knocked him out of the coxswain’s flat and into the main deck gunwhale. Despite his serious wounds, he made his way back to his battle station and had resumed his duty of advising and assisting the Vietnamese Boat Captain in the counterattack when shrapnel from another enemy rocket again wounded him, causing a deep hip wound and a compound fracture of his right thumb. Disregarding his grievous injuries, Chief Petty Officer Groce managed to crawl forward on the open deck to the flame mounts which were not firing. While exposed to the full force of the enemy fire, he calmly aligned the flame system and shouted encouragement to the other crew members. Subsequently, he personally operated one flame mount and supervised the employment of the flame throwers against the enemy’s positions until the enemy fire was effectively suppressed. Chief Petty Officer Groce’s exemplary professionalism, bravery under fire, and courageous devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.
General Orders: Authority: Navy Department Board of Decorations and Medals
Action Date: 4-Sep-70
Rank: Chief Boatswain’s Mate
Company: Advisor (Attached)
Battalion: Zippo Boat (HG-6533)
Division: Vietnamese Navy River Assault Forces