The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the
Navy Cross Medal (Posthumously) to
Second Lieutenant Robert Fishel Cochran, Jr
United States Marine Corps
For extraordinary heroism in Company A, 1st Amphibian Tractor Battalion, 3rd Marine Division (Reinforced), Fleet Marine Force, during Operation Starlite near Chu Lai, Vietnam, on the morning of 18 August 1965. While leading an amphibian tractor supply column to the front lines, he had momentarily stopped the column in order to check his positions, when it came under intense enemy mortar, recoilless rifle and small-arms fire. Although he was exposed to enemy fire, he calmly and unhesitatingly directed his vehicles into defensive positions. The amphibian tractor on which Lieutenant Cochran was located was hit by recoilless rifle fire. Disregarding his own safety he ordered his crew to evacuate the vehicle and alertly pointed out a good position for them to occupy. Despite the imminent danger of the amphibian tractor exploding and the attempts of the enemy to enter the vehicle, he, in order to deprive the enemy of this source of supply, removed the machine gun ammunition before he left the tractor. With full knowledge of the situation and complete disregard for his own personal safety, Lieutenant Cochran moved through intense enemy cross fire to his disabled vehicle, directing the wounded and dazed personnel to the safety of two amphibian tractors which had gained hull defilade positions behind a rice paddy bank. When he was assured that all of his men were safe, he determined which vehicle would afford the best observation of the battle area. As he moved toward this tractor he was severely wounded. Knowing that to ask his men to open the main ramp of the tractor would endanger their lives, he unselfishly chose to mount the vehicle through the top hatch. As a result of his heroic action he succumbed on the top of the amphibian tractor. His personal bravery, and fearless devotion to duty reflected great credit upon himself and the United States Marine Corps and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.