Lyndon B. Johnson photo

Remarks Upon Presenting the Presidential Unit Citation to SEAL TEAM ONE, USN.

January 14, 1969

Secretary Clifford, Secretary Ignatius, Admiral Moorer, distinguished guests:

Today, we bring brave men who work in shadow out into the sunlight of public favor for a while.

No front page or news show ever reports the exploits of SEAL teams--those sea, air, and land commandos who bring a new dimension of military skill to our United States Navy. They are unseen and unsung, for they are silent warriors, who fight with secrecy.

But no battleground is more hazardous than theirs, the tidal flats, the swamps, the snake-infested waters, deep in hostile land, where they carry to the enemy his own brand of guerrilla warfare.

There is no cause for celebration in the brutal business of war at any time. The only hurrahs to lift the heart will be those that come with the fighting's end, and the beginning of the peace that all of us have sought so long.

But there is good cause to honor all the courageous men who live closely with danger-who risk all and who sacrifice much for all of us--so that we may live secure and safe, and a people struggling to build a nation can have their chance at freedom. This gallant band has served with the courage that legends are made of. Only a special breed could be called to perform the bravery that they have demonstrated, day after day, for more than a year. The members of SEAL TEAM ONE--volunteers to a man--are those special and valiant few.

An ancient ballad speaks of sailors with "hearts of steel." These are the men who give a new ring to those very proud old words. They extend and they enrich the Navy's long tradition. The honor we pay them this morning is a very small measure of this Nation's gratitude for their service to each of us.

I have asked the Secretary of the Navy to read the citation now.

[Secretary of the Navy Paul R. Ignatius read the citation, the text of which follows.]

The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting




for service as set forth in the following


For exceptionally meritorious and heroic service from 16 July 1966 to 31 August 1967, in the conduct of naval unconventional warfare operations against the Viet Cong in the Republic of Vietnam. Although often required to carry out their operations in treacherous and almost impenetrable mangrove swamps against overwhelming odds, SEAL TEAM ONE personnel maintained an aggressive operating schedule and were highly successful in gathering intelligence data and in interdicting Viet Cong operations. On one occasion, a six-man fire team ambushed one junk and two sampans, accounting for seven Viet Cong dead and the capture of valuable intelligence data. During this daring ambush, all members of the fire team remained in exposed, waist-deep mud and water in order to obtain clear fields of fire. As a result of their constant alertness and skillful reading of Viet Cong trail markers, patrols of SEAL TEAM ONE succeeded in discovering numerous well-concealed Viet Cong base camps and supply caches, and captured or destroyed over 228 tons of Viet Cong rice, as well as numerous river craft, weapons, buildings, and documents. The outstanding esprit de corps of the men of this unit was evidenced on 7 October 1966 when a direct hit by an enemy mortar round wounded sixteen of the nineteen men aboard the detachment's armed LCM, and again on 7 April 1967 when three members of the SEAL TEAM ONE LCM were killed and eleven were wounded in a fire fight with Viet Cong positioned along the banks of a narrow stream. On both occasions, SEAL TEAM ONE men who were able, even though seriously wounded, returned to their positions and continued to fire their weapons until the boat was out of danger, thereby helping to save the lives of their comrades. The heroic achievements of SEAL TEAM ONE reflect the outstanding professionalism, valor, teamwork, and selfless dedication of the unit's officers and men. Their performance was in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

Note: The President spoke at 12:43 p.m. in the Cabinet Room at the White House. In his opening words he referred to Clark M. Clifford, Secretary of Defense, Paul R. Ignatius, Secretary of the Navy, and Adm. Thomas H. Moorer, Chief of Naval Operations.

Lyndon B. Johnson, Remarks Upon Presenting the Presidential Unit Citation to SEAL TEAM ONE, USN. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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