“THE RAKKASANS”

187TH INFANTRY REGIMENT

(Previously designated as 187th Glider Inf Regt (2/43-4/45), 187th Paraglider Inf Regt (5/45-3/49),

187th Airborne Regimental Combat Team (8/50-5/56),

187th Airborne Inf Regt (5/56-6/66), 187th Inf Regt(Air Assault) (7/66 to 9/04)

3rd Brigade Combat Team (187th Infantry), 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault)

BY: COL(RET) WM. E. WEBER

  On 25 Feb 05, the 187th Infantry Regiment (Rakkasans) completed sixty-two years of unbroken service to our nation, people and the United States Army. In itself this is not an occasion unique amongst the Regiments of the army, for many can lay claim to as much and more service.

  However, the Regiment’s history is unique because of the exceptional nature of its’ service. The 187th is the only airborne regiment of the army to have served in all major conflicts and wars (WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Lebanon, Persian Gulf, Afghanistan, Iraq) since the inception of airborne warfare in the US Armed Forces in 1940. Further, it is the only Regiment to have served in combat in all forms of airborne warfare to include air landing, glider, parachute and air assault. No other Regiment in the army can lay claim to that distinction and it is doubtful that any Regiment of any army in the world can claim a similar record.

 

  The 187th was constituted and designated on 12 Nov 42 and activated on 25 Feb 43 as a glider regiment and assigned to the 11th Airborne Division at Camp Mackall, NC. Following the poor results of airborne operations in Sicily and the Italian mainland in 43, many senior leaders felt that divisional size airborne forces were impractical and should be abandoned. The 11th Airborne Division in company with the 17th Airborne Division, was selected to conduct a major airborne maneuver (Knollwood) in early 44 to ascertain the practicality of divisional size airborne units. The results were spectacular and the 187th along with its’ sister Regiments, the 188th and 511th saved the concept of major sized airborne units in the US Forces and paved the way for the use of division sized forces in combat. In truth, the heroic combat records of the famous US Airborne Divisions of WWII (11th, 13th, 17th, 82nd, 101st) might never have been recorded had the 187th and its’ sister Regiments failed to prove the validity of the concept.

 

  The “Rakkasans” deployed to the pacific in mid-1944 with the 11th Airborne Division and saw combat service in New Guinea, Leyte and Luzon. The 187th was the first Airborne Regiment in company with the 188th, to conduct a combat amphibious landing on enemy held shores, landing in Lingayen Gulf to flank the Japanese lines on Luzon. In the bloody battles of Purple Heart hill, Tagatay Ridge, Nichols Field, Manila and Mount Macelod the Rakkasans decimated their foe. They also earned the distinction of being the only allied airborne force to meet and destroy an enemy combat parachute operation on their positions when Japanese airborne units tried to recapture airfields on Leyte taken by the Rakkasans.

 

  The 187th, joined by its sister Regiments (188th and 511th), was one of the leading units involved in the liberation of Manila, the first enemy held friendly nation capital liberated in the Pacific campaigns and were the only Airborne Regiments to earn that honor in WWII. For conspicuous gallantry, the 187th was awarded a Presidential Citation for action at Tagatay Ridge and later a Philippine Presidential Citation for valorous combat performance in the liberation of Luzon and Manila. The Rakkasans were given the honor of garrisoning the city of Manila to clear the city of enemy stragglers and death squads and prevent the infiltration of Japanese elements who threatened the establishment of the Philippine government.

 

  When the war ended the 187th, as part of the 11th Airborne Division, was chosen to spearhead the occupation of Japan and thus became the first foreign troops to set foot on Japanese soil in over a thousand years. They also participated in the securing of Tokyo and by this action were instrumental in being among the first American combat forces to occupy an enemy nation capital in the Pacific Theater. No other Airborne Regiment in WWII achieved that honor.

 

  As part of the occupation forces the 187th established bases in Hokkaido, the northernmost island of the Japanese Empire held by American Forces. Opposite them on the island of Karafuto they confronted Soviet Forces in what can truly be called the first example of the future cold war period in the Pacific Basin.

 

  During 1945 and 1946 the 187th was engaged in disarming two Japanese Army Corps and the residue of Japanese Naval and Air Forces located on Hokkaido. These troops were first line forces of the Japanese army and were combat ready in every sense of the word. In mid 1946 on the island of Hokkaido, the Rakkasans supervised the first democratic elections ever held in the Japanese Empire.

 

  In 1949 the Rakkasans returned to the United States with the 11th Airborne Division and were stationed at then, Camp Campbell, KY, where they comprised part of the strategic forces of the Army. Along with their sister Regiments of the 11th and 82nd Airborne Divisions, the Rakkasans participated in operation “SWARMER”, the largest peacetime airborne maneuvers ever conducted. Their performance in this exercise in Feb/Mar 50 is directly related to their being chosen to deploy to Korea as an Airborne Regimental Combat Team to provide Gen MacArthur with an airborne capability in Korea following the North Korean invasion of South Korea. In Sep 1950 elements of the 187th were attached to the 1st Marine Division to participate in the amphibious landings at Inchon.

 

  During the battles that followed the 187th assisted in the liberation of Seoul, thus earning the distinction of being the only Airborne Regiment to have helped liberate a second friendly nation’s capital held by enemy forces. For this action the 187th received a Navy Presidential Citation, the only Airborne Regiment so decorated.

 

  During their service in Korea the 187th conducted the two most successful combat parachute operations in history of regimental size or larger and were the first American airborne unit to conduct combat heavy drop operations bringing in their artillery and light armored vehicles to accompany and support the infantry battalions. The Rakkasans combat parachute assault in Oct 1950 assisted in the capture of Pyongyang, the North Korean capitol and the cut off of retreating North Korean forces from the capitol. This action again distinguished the 187th as being the only Airborne Regiment to assist in the capture of an enemy capitol for the second time in as many wars.

 

  Following the Chinese intervention in the Korean War in Nov 1950, the 187th, in company with the British 27th Brigade was designated to form a rear guard force to hold, at all costs, defensive positions to prevent the Chinese Forces from breaking through and overwhelming the US Eighth Army Forces attempting to withdraw to regroup and reorganize. For twelve days the Rakkasans and their British comrades in arms held the Chinese at bay and prevented them from capitalizing on their initial success and denied them the opportunity to pursue the disrupted UN Forces.

Again at Wonju in Feb 51 the Rakkasans were called upon to block a major Chinese offensive aimed at encircling a US Army Corps and a companion South Korean Corps. The Chinese had broken through the main line battle positions of these two Corps and were poised to encircle the rear areas and achieve a major victory. During the bloody five day battle the 187th in company with the 23rd and 38th Inf Regiments, blocked over 30,000 Chinese troops, decimating their units and enabling the two Corps to reestablish their forces and counterattack. The after action reports of this bloody battle characterized it as the most intense infantry engagement in modern history, and while the 187th sustained almost 15% total casualties, the Chinese lost ten times that number killed in action alone!

 

  In March 1951 the Rakkasans engaged the enemy in another combat parachute operation at Munsan-Ni, denying the enemy strategic routes of communication and forestalling a major Chinese offensive. At Inje and Kumwha. The Rakkasans broke through Chinese main lines and penetrated their rear areas forcing the Chinese to abandon their offensive and return to a defensive posture.

 

  Throughout their Korean war service the Rakkasans earned another Presidential Unit Citation and two Korean Presidential Citations and added five Battle Campaign Streamers to their colors, thus becoming the only Airborne Regiment to bear such battle honors. In fact, except for Ranger Infantry Companies(ABN), no other airborne force, friendly or enemy, saw combat in the Korean war.

 

  Returned to the United States in 1955 the Rakkasans were stationed at Fort Bragg. When the army reorganized into the battle group concept the Rakkasans were formed into three battle groups. In mid-50s, the Rakkasans deployed to Europe as part of the 11th Airborne Division becoming one of three out of twenty-two WWII Airborne Regiments to serve as occupations forces in both the European and Pacific theatres. In 1958, the Rakkasans as part of the 24th Abn Bde, 24th Inf Div, deployed to Lebanon in the first major use of American Forces in the mid east to establish peace and preserve that nation’s independence. Throughout its history elements of the 187th were assigned to the 11th, 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions, becoming the only Airborne Regiment to have served in three of the five WWII Airborne Divisions.

 

  In 1963 the elements of the 187th were assigned to the 11th Air Assault Division (Test), to spearhead testing the new Air Assault concept and to develop tactics and procedures for such. Their performance in this critical role gave birth to the concept of helicopter- borne combat forces in the US Armed Forces. Shortly following their outstanding performance in this role the 3/187th was assigned to the 101st Airborne Division and premiered the conversion of that division to dual status as a Parachute and Air Assault unit.

 

  The Rakkasans deployed to Vietnam as a part of the 101st Airborne Division in 1967. There, the 187th became known as the “nomad” unit as they were used in every corps area in the theatre in “hot spots” of enemy action. While in Vietnam the 187th earned two more Presidential Citations, two Valorous Unit Citations, a Meritorious Unit Citation and three Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry and one Vietnamese Merit Citation as well as 12 Battle Campaign Streamers. Though far from being the most major battle of their service in Vietnam, it was the Rakkasans that defeated first line North Vietnamese Army Forces in the Battle for Hamburger Hill.

 

  The Rakkasans returned to Fort Campbell in 1972 and were again consolidated as a full regiment of three battalions and assigned as the 3rd Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault). In addition, two Battalions of the 187th (one designated airborne) were assigned to the 193rd Inf Bde in Panama constituting the only U.S. Army Airborne capability in the Caribbean. As part of the strategic forces of the Army the Rakkasans participated in providing peacekeeping forces in the Sinai preserving the line of demarcation between Israeli and Egyptian forces.

 

  In 1990 the Rakkasans again went to war in the Persian Gulf with the 101st Abn Div(Air Assault). During the 100 day ground combat portion of the war, the Rakkasans launched the largest and longest air assault by helicopter in history. They landed behind Iraqi lines and secured the crossings over the Euphrates River thus preventing the Iraqi Republican Guard Divisions from reinforcing or extricating themselves from Kuwait. During this operation the Rakkasans decimated two enemy divisions without the loss of one KIA!

 

  While in the Persian Gulf, the Rakkasans added two more Battle Campaign Streamers to their colors and the distinction of proving conclusively that airborne vertical assault by helicopter against a modern, well equipped foe, was the equal, and perhaps superior to that by parachute.

 

  In the “GWOT” (Global War on Terrorism) Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, the Rakkasans (3rd Bde Combat Team, 101st Abn Div(Air Assault) conducted operations against the Taliban forces and were instrumental in liberating that nation from dominance by Muslim extremists. Less than a year later the Rakkasans deployed with the 101st Abn Div(Air Assault) in Operation Iraqi Freedom, the war to defeat Saddam Hussein and free the Iraqi people from his dictatorial form of government. Conducting several Bde sized air assaults, the Rakkasans leap frogged into central Iraq and participated in the liberation of Baghdad, thus adding another enemy capital city being liberated to those of WWII and Korea. In the post-war phase of operation the Rakkasans conducted operations against guerrilla forces along the Syrian border and in the Tikrit triangle region of Iraq.

 

  The 187th derives their name “Rakkasans” from the Japanese who addressed them as such in dispatches during WWII. Loosely translated, it means “falling down umbrella man”, the closest word for paratroopers in the Japanese language. The troopers of the 187th liked the term and it is now part of the official designation of the 187th. It is the only Airborne Regiment that bears an official name deriving from a past enemy’s designation of a unit against whom combat should be avoided, if possible. It is also the only unit whose company guidons are authorized to bear a “Torii” (the gateway of honor), at the staffhead in lieu of the standard spearhead.

 

  Of interest, is the fact that the Japanese now, and during WWII, identify their airborne forces with the same title. Of even more interest is that the present Japanese Airborne Forces stem from the stimulus provided by the 187th during their post Korea stationing in Japan. The present Airborne Brigade of the Japanese Self Defense Ground Forces traces its’ origin to the training provided by the Rakkasans during the mid-50s.

 

  In four wars the Rakkasan airborne troopers have been awarded four Medals of Honor, twenty five Distinguished Service Crosses, four hundred and twenty six Silver Stars, six hundred and twelve Bronze Stars for valor and three thousand eight hundred and forty one Purple Hearts. In combat in four wars, nine hundred and seventeen Rakkasans made the supreme sacrifice and over 4000 were wounded in action. Their names are engraved on a granite wall which, with an obelisk, constitutes an everlasting memorial at Fort Campbell, KY, to all Rakkasans, past, present and future!

 

  To the foregoing, and yet to be added, are the honors, awards and sadly, the casualties accorded the Rakkasans for Operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Rakkasan History Operation Enduring Freedom X-XI (Unclassified)

 

  Task Force Rakkasan, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) conducted the full spectrum of counterinsurgency operations in Regional Command East (RC-E) across Paktya, Paktika, Khowst provinces, Deh Yak and Andar districts in Ghazni province, and Panjwa’I district in RC-S from 24 February 2010 until 30 January 2011 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) X-XI.

  During OEF X-XI, Task Force Rakkasan completed nearly 650 major named operations including 214 Air Assaults, with individual battalion task forces conducting more than 14,700 unit-level patrols in Paktika, Paktya, Khowst provinces, and Deh Yak and Andar districts in Ghazni province. Task Force Rakkasan units also conducted almost 2,800 Key Leader Engagements (KLEs) or shuras with local village leaders.

 

  In the Task Force Rakkasan Area of Operations (AO) including Paktika province, over 2,000 enemy fighters were taken off the battlefield since the unit’s arrival in February 2010. During this same period, Task Force Rakkasan captured almost 200 major weapons or explosives caches, found and destroyed more than 700 Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), and detained countless low-level persons of interest during targeted operations. Task Force Rakkasan’s artillerymen conducted more than 2,000 fire missions, including more than 250 missions fired in support of troops in contact, with devastating results to the enemy.

 

  In March 2010, the 3rd Battalion, 172nd Infantry Regiment (Mountain), Vermont National Guard, joined Task Force Rakkasan units in Paktya province as a battle space owning unit in AO Rakkasan. Task Force Avalanche conducted 65 major named operations, over 4,300 combat patrols and 9 air assault operations, including Task Force Rakkasan’s largest combined air assault operation of the deployment in support of Operation Champion Stone.

In addition to combat operations against a variety of insurgent groups, Task Force Rakkasan aided the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (GIRoA) with building professional security forces, and setting the conditions for impartial national parliamentary elections.

 

  In Paktya and Khowst provinces, TF Rakkasan partnered with numerous Afghan National Security Force (ANSF) units, mostly from 1st Brigade, 203rd Corps, Afghan National Army (ANA), totaling approximately 6,000 Soldiers. Primarily, Task Force War (1-33 CAV) parented with 1st BDE/203rd Corps Afghan National Army (ANA), establishing a modern Combined Action Tactical Operations Center (CATOC) with all staff functions and command and control assets. In Paktika province and also in the Deh Yak and Andar districts of Ghazni province, TF Iron (3-187 IN) and TF Leader (1-187 IN) partnered with ANSF, training them on military and police skills, and conducting more than 1,500 joint combat patrols. Task Force Assurgam (626th BSB) focused on the combat service support partnership, training and mentoring the ANA 5th Kandak (Combat Service Support) to plan, prepare, and execute 50 independent sustainment operations. With its focus on building ABP capacity, TF Solid (3 STB) successfully partnered with its 2nd Zone ABP staff counterparts in order to improve personnel management, logistics, maintenance, planning, execution, and Command and Control for over 2,500 policemen.

 

  In September 2010, Task Force Rakkasan provided support to Afghan Parliamentary Elections of the Wolesi Jirga, the lower house of the Afghan Parliament in its two provinces and two separate districts. TF Rakkasan partnered with ANSF and GIRoA to operate almost 400 polling sites for more than 200 thousand voters, with only one incident of election-day violence.

 

  Task Force Rakkasan, assisted by Provincal Reconstruction Teams (PRTs) in Khowst and Paktya and National Guard Agricultural Development Teams (ADTs) from Indiana and Oklahoma, undertook development projects totaling almost $63 million in Commander’s Emergency Response Program (CERP) funds. AO Rakkasan directly supported an additional $315 million in U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) projects including constructions of two major roads though Paktya and Khowst provinces, infrastructure improvements, and health-care facility construction.

 

  During OEF X-XI, Soldiers earned or were nominated for 132 Army Commendation Medals (Valor). 44 Soldiers were decorated with the Bronze Star Medal (Valor). Additionally, two Soldiers were decorated with the Silver Star Medal. Nearly 1,600 individual Task Force Soldiers earned combat badges for participating in direct combat against the enemy for the first time. Almost 1,100 Combat Infantryman Badges (CIB), over 1,300 Combat Action Badges (CAB), and 117 Combat Medical Badges (CMB). As a testament to the sacrifice, troopers from Task Force Rakkasan made in service to the nation, 229 Soldiers earned Purple Hearts for battle injuries. 17 Task Force Rakkasan Soldiers paid the ultimate price.

 

  Throughout OEF X-XI, Rakkasans upheld the highest tradition of military service, in some of the most arduous terrain in Afghanistan. Task Force Rakkasan’s actions helped develop a stable environment of peace and prosperity for citizens of Afghanistan.

 

  It is because of the heroic service of these brave airborne soldiers that the colors of the Regiment fly proudly, fifteen Citations for Valorous and Meritorious service and twenty three Battle Campaign Streamers. No other Airborne Regiment can equal that record and the Rakkasans stand proudly at, and have earned, “the right of the line”, amongst their sister Airborne Regiments, ever mindful of their Regimental motto,

 

”Ne Desit Virtus” — “Let Valor Not Fail”!

 

They have not —– and shall not

Men of Honor
Wilson, Richard G.

Rank and organization: Private First Class, U.S. Army, Co. I, Medical Company, 187th Airborne Infantry Regiment.

Place and date: Opari, Korea, 21 October 1950.

Entered service at: Cape Girardeau Mo.

Citation: Pfc. Wilson distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty in action. As medical aid man attached to Company I, he accompanied the unit during a reconnaissance in force through the hilly country near Opari. The main body of the company was passing through a narrow valley flanked on 3 sides by high hills when the enemy laid down a barrage of mortar, automatic-weapons and small-arms fire. The company suffered a large number of casualties from the intense hostile fire while fighting its way out of the ambush. Pfc. Wilson proceeded at once to move among the wounded and administered aid to them oblivious of the danger to himself, constantly exposing himself to hostile fire. The company commander ordered a withdrawal as the enemy threatened to encircle and isolate the company. As his unit withdrew Private Wilson assisted wounded men to safety and assured himself that none were left behind. After the company had pulled back he learned that a comrade previously thought dead had been seen to be moving and attempting to crawl to safety. Despite the protests of his comrades, unarmed and facing a merciless enemy, Pfc. Wilson returned to the dangerous position in search of his comrade. Two days later a patrol found him lying beside the man he returned to aid. He had been shot several times while trying to shield and administer aid to the wounded man. Pfc. Wilson's superb personal bravery, consummate courage and willing self-sacrifice for his comrades reflect untold glory upon himself and uphold the esteemed traditions of the military service.

 
BALDONADO, JOE R.

Rank and organization: Corporal, U.S. Army, Company B, 187th Airborne Infantry Regiment.

Place and date: November 15, 1950. Kangdong, Korea

Entered service at: Santa Clara, CA.

Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty: Corporal Joe R. Baldonado distinguished himself by acts of gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty while serving as an acting machine gunner in 3d Squad, 2d Platoon, Company B, 187th Airborne Infantry Regiment during combat operations against an armed enemy in Kangdong, Korea on November 25, 1950. On that morning, the enemy launched a strong attack in an effort to seize the hill occupied by Corporal Baldonado and his company. The platoon had expended most of its ammunition in repelling the enemy attack and the platoon leader decided to commit his 3d Squad, with its supply of ammunition, in the defensive action. Since there was no time to dig in because of the proximity of the enemy, who had advanced to within twenty-five yards of the platoon position, Corporal Baldonado emplaced his weapon in an exposed position and delivered a withering stream of fire on the advancing enemy, causing them to fall back in disorder. The enemy then concentrated all their fire on Corporal Baldonado's gun and attempted to knock it out by rushing the position in small groups and hurling hand grenades. Several times, grenades exploded extremely close to Corporal Baldonado but failed to interrupt his continuous firing. The hostile troops made repeated attempts to storm his position and were driven back each time with appalling casualties. The enemy finally withdrew after making a final assault on Corporal Baldonado's position during which a grenade landed near his gun, killing him instantly. Corporal Baldonado's extraordinary heroism and selflessness at the cost of his own life, above and beyond the call of duty, are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit and the United States Army.

HERNANDEZ, RODOLFO P

Rank and organization: Corporal, U.S. Army, Company G, 187th Airborne Regimental Combat Team.

Place and date: Near Wontong-ni, Korea, 31 May 1951.

Entered service at: Fowler, Calif.

Citation: Cpl. Hernandez, a member of Company G, distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty in action against the enemy. His platoon, in defensive positions on Hill 420, came under ruthless attack by a numerically superior and fanatical hostile force, accompanied by heavy artillery, mortar, and machine gun fire which inflicted numerous casualties on the platoon. His comrades were forced to withdraw due to lack of ammunition but Cpl. Hernandez, although wounded in an exchange of grenades, continued to deliver deadly fire into the ranks of the onrushing assailants until a ruptured cartridge rendered his rifle inoperative. Immediately leaving his position, Cpl. Hernandez rushed the enemy armed only with rifle and bayonet. Fearlessly engaging the foe, he killed 6 of the enemy before falling unconscious from grenade, bayonet, and bullet wounds but his heroic action momentarily halted the enemy advance and enabled his unit to counterattack and retake the lost ground. The indomitable fighting spirit, outstanding courage, and tenacious devotion to duty clearly demonstrated by Cpl. Hernandez reflect the highest credit upon himself, the infantry, and the U.S. Army.

HAMMOND, LESTER, JR.

Rank and organization: Corporal, U.S. Army, Company A, 187th Airborne Regimental Combat Team

Place and date: Near Kumwha, Korea, 14 August 1952.

Entered service at: Quincy, Ill.

Citation: Cpl. Hammond, a radio operator with Company A, distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and outstanding courage above and beyond the call of duty in action against the enemy. Cpl. Hammond was a member of a 6 man reconnaissance patrol which had penetrated approximately 3,500 yards into enemy-held territory. Ambushed and partially surrounded by a large hostile force, the small group opened fire, then quickly withdrew up a narrow ravine in search of protective cover. Despite a wound sustained in the initial exchange of fire and imminent danger of being overrun by the numerically superior foe, he refused to seek shelter and, remaining in an exposed place, called for artillery fire to support a defensive action. Constantly vulnerable to enemy observation and action, he coordinated and directed crippling fire on the assailants, inflicting heavy casualties and repulsing several attempts to overrun friendly positions. Although wounded a second time, he remained steadfast and maintained his stand until mortally wounded. His indomitable fighting spirit set an inspiring example of valor to his comrades and, through his actions, the onslaught was stemmed, enabling a friendly platoon to reach the beleaguered patrol, evacuate the wounded, and effect a safe withdrawal to friendly lines. Cpl. Hammond's unflinching courage and consummate devotion to duty reflect lasting glory on himself and uphold the finest traditions of the military service

BUCHA, PAUL WILLIAM

Rank and Organization: Captain, U.S. Army, Company D, 3d Battalion. 187th Infantry, 3d Brigade, 101st Airborne Division

Place and Date: Near Phuoc Vinh, Binh Duong Province, Republic of Vietnam, 16-19 March 1968

Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Capt. Bucha distinguished himself while serving as commanding officer, Company D, on a reconnaissance-in-force mission against enemy forces near Phuoc Vinh, The company was inserted by helicopter into the suspected enemy stronghold to locate and destroy the enemy. During this period Capt. Bucha aggressively and courageously led his men in the destruction of enemy fortifications and base areas and eliminated scattered resistance impeding the advance of the company. On 18 March while advancing to contact, the lead elements of the company became engaged by the heavy automatic weapon, heavy machine gun, rocket propelled grenade, Claymore mine and small-arms fire of an estimated battalion-size force. Capt. Bucha, with complete disregard for his safety, moved to the threatened area to direct the defense and ordered reinforcements to the aid of the lead element. Seeing that his men were pinned down by heavy machine gun fire from a concealed bunker located some 40 meters to the front of the positions, Capt. Bucha crawled through the hail of fire to single-handedly destroy the bunker with grenades. During this heroic action Capt. Bucha received a painful shrapnel wound. Returning to the perimeter, he observed that his unit could not hold its positions and repel the human wave assaults launched by the determined enemy. Capt. Bucha ordered the withdrawal of the unit elements and covered the withdrawal to positions of a company perimeter from which he could direct fire upon the charging enemy. When 1 friendly element retrieving casualties

was ambushed and cut off from the perimeter, Capt. Bucha ordered them to feign death and he directed artillery fire around them. During the night Capt. Bucha moved throughout the position, distributing ammunition, providing encouragement and insuring the integrity of the defense. He directed artillery, helicopter gunship and Air Force gunship fire on the enemy strong points and attacking forces, marking the positions with smoke grenades. Using flashlights in complete view of enemy snipers, he directed the medical evacuation of 3 air-ambulance loads of seriously wounded personnel and the helicopter supply of his company. At daybreak Capt. Bucha led a rescue party to recover the dead and wounded members of the ambushed element. During the period of intensive combat, Capt. Bucha, by his extraordinary heroism, inspirational example, outstanding leadership and professional competence, led his company in the decimation of a superior enemy force which left 156 dead on the battlefield. His bravery and gallantry at the risk of his life are in the highest traditions of the military service, Capt. Bucha has reflected great credit on himself, his unit, and the U.S. Army.

© 2020 LET VALOR NOT FAIL!

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