The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the
Navy Cross Medal (Posthumously) to
Staff Sergeant Claude Hesson Dorris
United States Marine Corps
For extraordinary heroism while serving as the Marine Squad Leader/Advisor of Combined Action Platoon H-6, Third Combined Action Group, III Marine Amphibious Force, in the Republic of Vietnam. During the early morning hours of 7 January 1968, Sergeant Dorris' platoon was defending an outpost in Nuoc Ngot Village, Thua Thien Province. Suddenly, the compound came under a heavy volume of mortar and rocket fire, followed by an aggressive assault by a numerically superior Viet Cong force. The enemy quickly seized the northern wall of the compound as the Marines and Popular Forces soldiers moved to the sandbagged southern wall. Realizing that several Marines had been in their living quarters when the attack commenced, Sergeant Dorris unhesitatingly exposed himself to the hostile fire to ensure that the Marines were manning their fighting positions. Although painfully wounded in both legs soon after the attack commenced, he resolutely crawled from one burning hut to another, ensuring that none of his men had been trapped in the structures. Observing a wounded Vietnamese boy run into the compound, Sergeant Dorris skillfully administered first aid to the child. Despite the enemy fire impacting around him, he fearlessly remained in his dangerously exposed position in an attempt to halt the advancing enemy force until he was mortally wounded by an enemy rocket round. His heroic and timely actions inspired his men and prevented the enemy from overrunning the compound. By his courage, bold initiative, and selfless devotion to duty, Sergeant Dorris upheld the highest traditions of the United States Marine Corps, and the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.