The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the
SILVER STAR MEDAL to
GARY L. HILL
UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS
for service as set forth in the following
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action against the enemy as a Fire Team Leader, Company M, 3d Battalion, 3d Marines, 3d Marine Division during the Battle of Khe Sanh in the Republic of Vietnam. On 30 April 1967, his company (-) attacked to secure Hill 881 South, which was defended by a numerically superior enemy with extensive bunker systems and pre-registered fires. The Marines sustained over 75 percent casualties (27 KIA and 50 WIA). The hill was a deadly killing zone. The Platoon Leader was killed instantly; the command element decimated. The junior Marines began small unit, individual, and independent coordinated fights for survival. As the battle raged, Lance Corporal Hill rallied his team and focused on the platoon’s dangerously exposed right flank. With no direct order, he ordered his fire team to follow him as they maneuvered to protect the right flank. He repeatedly but stealthily exposed himself to enemy fire to engage the enemy at close quarters. Once he crawled to within three feet of an enemy bunker and single-handedly killed its occupants. He then attacked an enemy trench line and killed three NVA soldiers. But then his fire team became the target of a NVA sniper in an unknown location. He ordered his fire team to remain in the trench to provide suppressive fires as he maneuvered to locate the NVA sniper. His courageous actions caused the sniper to fire and expose himself. Then Lance Corporal Hill and his team eliminated the sniper and the threat. He then began evacuating wounded Marines from the battlefield to the base of the hill. It was an arduous and dangerous task, but it was estimated his actions saved the lives of at least eight Marines and probably more. Lance Corporal Hill’s exceptional bravery and his compassion for his fellow Marines demonstrated the essence of combat leadership and junior Marine initiative. Lance Corporal Hill’s exceptional heroism reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.
For the President
Secretary of the Navy