Private First Class, U.S. Army, Company C, 1st Battalion, 12th Infantry, 4th Infantry Division.
Place and date:
Kontum Province, Republic of Vietnam, 15 Feb. 1967.
Entered service at:
Born: 19 June 1945, Brooklyn, N.Y.
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Pfc. Willett distinguished himself while serving as a rifleman in Company C, during combat operations. His squad was conducting a security sweep when it made contact with a large enemy force. The squad was immediately engaged with a heavy volume of automatic weapons fire and pinned to the ground. Despite the deadly fusillade, Pfc. Willett rose to his feet firing rapid bursts from his weapon and moved to a position from which he placed highly effective fire on the enemy. His action allowed the remainder of his squad to begin to withdraw from the superior enemy force toward the company perimeter. Pfc. Willett covered the squad's withdrawal, but his position drew heavy enemy machinegun fire, and he received multiple wounds enabling the enemy again to pin down the remainder of the squad. Pfc. Willett struggled to an upright position, and, disregarding his painful wounds, he again engaged the enemy with his rifle to allow his squad to continue its movement and to evacuate several of his comrades who were by now wounded. Moving from position to position, he engaged the enemy at close range until he was mortally wounded. By his unselfish acts of bravery, Pfc. Willett insured the withdrawal of his comrades to the company position, saving their lives at the cost of his life. Pfc. Willett's valorous actions were in keeping with the highest traditions of the U.S. Army and reflect great credit upon himself and the Armed Forces of his country.(Battle report available in the PX)
Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company C, 1st Battalion, 12th Infantry, 4th Infantry Division.
Place and date:
Kontum Province, Republic of Vietnam, 16 May 1968.
Entered service at:
Los Angeles, Calif.
Born: 17 Feb. 1948, Vallejo, Calif.
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Sgt. Roark distinguished himself by extraordinary gallantry while serving with Company C. Sgt. Roark was the point squad leader of a small force which had the mission of rescuing 11 men in a hilltop observation post under heavy attack by a company-size force, approximately 1,000 meters from the battalion perimeter. As lead elements of the relief force reached the besieged observation post, intense automatic weapons fire from enemy occupied bunkers halted their movement. Without hesitation, Sgt. Roark maneuvered his squad, repeatedly exposing himself to withering enemy fire to hurl grenades and direct the fire of his squad to gain fire superiority and cover the withdrawal of the outpost and evacuation of its casualties. Frustrated in their effort to overrun the position, the enemy swept the hilltop with small arms and volleys of grenades. Seeing a grenade land in the midst of his men, Sgt. Roark, with complete disregard for his safety, hurled himself upon the grenade, absorbing its blast with his body. Sgt. Roark's magnificent leadership and dauntless courage saved the lives of many of his comrades and were the inspiration for the successful relief of the outpost. His actions which culminated in the supreme sacrifice of his life were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service, and reflect great credit on himself and the U.S. Army.
SYNOPSIS: On May 16, 1968 Cpl. Albert W. Romine and Sgt. Anund C. Roark were on an operation with their unit a few miles southeast of the city of Kontum in Kontum Province, South Vietnam. Although U.S. Army information is sketchy, apparently Roark and Romine were in close proximity when Roark threw himself on an incoming grenade to shield others in the unit. Both Roark and Romine were reported to be killed (and possibly others), but no remains were recovered at that time. Romine, at least, was held for an unspecified period in Missing in Action status before a finding of death was made.
On May 31, 1968, remains were recovered which were given to the Than San Nhut Mortuary on June 2. Eleven years later, on November 11, 1979, these remains were identified as being those of Roark and Romine, and returned to their families for burial. According to the Army's DD-1300 (death certificate), however, the remains were identified on the same day they were recovered - May 31, 1968.
Roark and Romine were not returned for burial until 11 years later. No such problem is reported with respect to Hendle or Rotonnelli.
Albert Wayne Romine was promoted to the rank of Sergeant during the period prior to a finding of death.