Marine Corps Logistics Base ALBANY Ga. (MCN - 5/10/2012)
— He said it was all part of the job; however, receiving the
nation's fourth highest combat award indicates he did more.
Willie J. Robinson receives the Bronze Star with Combat V for valor during a ceremony in front of family, friends, Marines and civilian-Marines at Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, May 1,
2012 for heroic actions while deployed south of DaNang, Vietnam, in 1965.
U.S. Marine Corps photo by Nathan L. Hanks Jr.
Willie J. Robinson was presented the Bronze Star Medal
with Combat “V” for valor by Maj. Gen. Charles Hudson,
commanding general, Marine Corps Logistics Command, during a
ceremony held at Covella Pond, Marine Corps Logistics Base
Albany, May 1.
Robinson received the award 46 years
later for heroic actions while deployed to Da Nang, Vietnam,
Dec. 10, 1965.
According to his award citation,
Robinson, a 21-year-old lance corporal, served as an
assistant rocket gunner with Delta Company 1st Battalion,
7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division.
serving with a security force assigned to protect a disabled
helicopter and its crew while deployed to an
enemy-controlled area south of Da Nang, Vietnam, when a Viet
Cong force initiated a heavy volume of small arms and
automatic weapons fire during a determined attempt to
overrun the position.
In the vicious firefight, one
of the Marines was critically wounded. With complete disregard for
his own safety, Robinson ran from his covered
position through overwhelming fire and took a position between the
Viet Cong and his wounded comrade.
aggressively on the enemy position, Robinson succeeded in
turning back the Viet Cong attack and enabled the evacuation
of the wounded Marine. His resolute effort in thwarting the
enemy assault undoubtedly prevented additional casualties
among Marines in the area, according to the citation.
After the citation was read aloud in front of family,
friends, Marines and civilian-Marines, Hudson addressed the
“Being a Marine leader, you jump at the
opportunity to represent a command and the awarding of an
award to an individual who is a true hero,” Hudson said.
“The first line of the citation says ‘heroic action' and I
will tell you, from my perspective, there were many heroic
actions indicated in that citation for this one man.
“The words of the citation at this late date probably don't
give you a feel for what I imagine it was like on December
10, 1965,” he said. “It is December and it is still hot in
South Vietnam and it is hotter when enemy fire is coming
your way. It's even hotter when you see a fellow Marine go
down, critically wounded, and the enemy continues to fire at
“It is extremely hot when you make a personal
decision to get up from your covered position and run to the
sounds of the guns to place yourself between the wounded
Marine and incoming fire, putting down suppressing fire,
driving the enemy away so the wounded Marine could be
evacuated,” Hudson said.
Robinson put his own life on
the line for another Marine, according to Hudson. “That's
what Marines do. That's what we expect of our Marines, but
it is not an easy task to do when it is your life you are
putting in harm's way,” Hudson said.
For his selfless
act, Robinson was recommended and approved for the medal,
but did not receive it. Sadly in the fog of war, sometimes
awards do not reach the intended Marines, according to Kent
Morrison, executive director, MCLB Albany.
months ago, Robinson, senior projectionist, Marine Corps
Community Services, MCLB Albany, asked Lt. Col. Daniel L.
Bates, executive officer, and Sgt. Maj. Conrad E. Potts,
sergeant major, both with MCLB Albany, to assist him in
tracking down his award. “He had some very old paperwork
that showed his award, but he had never officially been
presented with the medal,” Bates said. “We worked with
Headquarters Marine Corps Awards Branch to validate the
award and matched it with Marine Forces Pacific's historical
records. We discovered the original awarding authority was
Maj. Gen. A. R. Kier in 1966.” Forty-six years later,
through good efforts from MCLB Albany's leadership and
diligent work from Headquarters Marine Corps, Robinson was
presented his long overdue award.
Robinson did not ask for a ceremony, he just wanted to track
down a medal he should have received more than forty years
ago,” Bates said. “We wanted to recognize one of our own, a
true hero - a Marine who went above and beyond the call of
duty to save another Marine.”
Hudson thanked Robinson
for his service then and now.
“Thank you for the
example you provide for the young Marines today. I hope you
know those who wear the uniform today attempt to live up to
the legacy your Marines provided to us in that war so long
ago and hopefully we live up to your expectations,” he said.
“I am honored to serve with you and I salute you.”
“(I accept) this award (on behalf) of all Marines of 1/7,”
Robinson said. “It gives me great honor (to receive this
award) 46 years later.”
By Nathan L. Hanks Jr.
Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany
Marine Corps News
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