BY VIRTUE of the authority vested in me as president of the United States and as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the United States I have today awarded
THE PRESIDENTIAL UNIT CITATION (ARMY) FOR EXTRAORDINARY HEROISM TO
THE EIGHTH AIRBORNE BATTALION, AIRBORNE DIVISION, ARMY OF THE REPUBLIC
The Eighth Airborne Battalion, Airborne Division, Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) distinguished itself by extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against a hostile force from 25 to 28 February 1966. During this period, the Eighth Airborne Battalion conducted several successful assaults against strongly fortified insurgent positions after other friendly units had failed in their attempts to defeat the hostile forces. In the first engagement, the hostile forces had repulsed a coordinated attack by two ARVN battalions. After the friendly battalions withdrew, the Eighth Airborne Battalion advanced in the face of heavy small arms, machine gun, and mortar fire across 800 meters of open rice paddy in an assault against the fortified hostile positions. In heavy fighting at extremely close quarters, the Battalion routed the insurgents and forced them to retreat in disorder from their fortified positions, leaving many dead and wounded personnel and a significant amount of equipment on the battlefield. Two days later, in a second engagement at another location, the enemy, in dug-in and heavily fortified positions, again repulsed an attack by ARVN battalions. The Eighth Airborne Battalion was again ordered to attack across 2,000 meters of open rice paddy through heavy flanking fire to seize the enemy position. In spite of heavy casualties, the gallant and determined paratroopers swept into the enemy positions and, in close combat, again defeated the enemy and forced him into a disorderly retreat. The next day an enemy force was located in well-entrenched positions along a tree line adjacent to a small village. When the friendly main attack was repulsed, the Eighth Airborne Battalion, initially in reserve, was committed to the attack. The Battalion advanced across 500 meters of open rice paddy against intense enemy machine gun and mortar fire to assault the positions. After reaching the tree line, the Battalion closed with the enemy and, employing small arms, hand grenades, and bayonets, forced the enemy to withdraw from his prepared positions, leaving behind many casualties and weapons. In each engagement, the Eighth Airborne Battalion was supported by minimal artillery and air support and had to rely almost entirely upon its light organic weapons and the valor, skill, and determination of the individual soldier and small unit leaders to accomplish its mission. The exemplary actions of the Eighth Airborne Battalion under these extremely difficult and hazardous conditions are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military profession and reflect great credit upon itself and the Army of the Republic of Vietnam.
LYNDON B. JOHNSON