RIP Medal of Honor recipient Richard Pittman
Sad news from the Marine Corps Times, as another Medal of Honor recipient goes on to his eternal reward:
Medal of Honor recipient Richard Pittman, who traded his rifle for a machine gun to save many of his fellow Marines, has died at the age of 71.
“We mourn the loss of an American hero,” Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said on Tuesday. “Master Gunnery Sergeant Richard Pittman's commitment to the country and his fellow Marines serves as an example for all of those who wear the uniform. Our thoughts are with his family as we honor his courage and legacy of service.”
On July 24, 1966, Pittman was a lance corporal with 1 st Battalion, 5 th Marines when his company came under attack near the Demilitarized Zone in South Vietnam.
His Wikipedia had an interesting factoid about Pittman, he'd been turned down by both the Navy and the Army because he was legally blind in one eye, something he talked about in a video.
Pittman's Medal of Honor citation:
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. While Company 1 was conducting an operation along the axis of a narrow jungle trail, the leading company elements suffered numerous casualties when they suddenly came under heavy fire from a well concealed and numerically superior enemy force. Hearing the engaged marines' calls for more firepower, Sgt. Pittman quickly exchanged his rifle for a machinegun and several belts of ammunition, left the relative safety of his platoon, and unhesitatingly rushed forward to aid his comrades. Taken under intense enemy small-arms fire at point blank range during his advance, he returned the fire, silencing the enemy position. As Sgt. Pittman continued to forge forward to aid members of the leading platoon, he again came under heavy fire from 2 automatic weapons which he promptly destroyed. Learning that there were additional wounded marines 50 yards further along the trail, he braved a withering hail of enemy mortar and small-arms fire to continue onward. As he reached the position where the leading marines had fallen, he was suddenly confronted with a bold frontal attack by 30 to 40 enemy. Totally disregarding his safety, he calmly established a position in the middle of the trail and raked the advancing enemy with devastating machinegun fire. His weapon rendered ineffective, he picked up an enemy submachinegun and, together with a pistol seized from a fallen comrade, continued his lethal fire until the enemy force had withdrawn. Having exhausted his ammunition except for a grenade which he hurled at the enemy, he then rejoined his platoon. Sgt. Pittman's daring initiative, bold fighting spirit and selfless devotion to duty inflicted casualties, disrupted the enemy attack and saved the lives of many of his wounded comrades. His personal valor at grave risk to himself reflects the highest credit upon himself, the Marine Corps, and the U.S. Naval Service.
Rest in Peace sir, you've earned it,