L/Cpl. Richard A. Anderson

Richard Allen Anderson, who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for heroism in Vietnam in August 1969, was born 16 April 1948, in Washington, D.C. At an early age, he moved with his parents to Houston, Texas, where he attended East Houston Elementary School, Inez Carroll Elementary School, and Northwood Junior High School in Houston. He was graduated from M.B. Smiley High School there in May 1966, then attended San Jacinto Junior College in Pasadena, Texas, for a year and a half.

Corporal Anderson enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps with a friend, Thomas L. Adams under the “Buddy System, in Houston, 8 April 1968, for assignment to the same recruit platoon. Upon completion of recruit training with the 2d Recruit Training Battalion, Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego, California, he received individual combat training with the 1st Battalion, 2d Infantry Training Regiment, Marine Corps Base, Camp Pendleton, California, and returned to San Diego to attend Sea School. He was promoted to private first class, 1 July 1968.

Private Anderson completed his training in October 1968, and was ordered to the Far East, where he joined Sub Unit #1, Provisional Service Battalion, 9th Marine Amphibious Brigade.

In November 1968, he was reassigned duty with the 3d Marine Division in the Republic of Vietnam, and served initially as a rifleman with Company D, 1st Battalion, 4th Marines. In January 1969, he assumed duty as scout and, later, assistant team leader with Company E, 3d Recon Battalion, 3d Marine Division. He was promoted to Lance Corporal, 1 June 1969.

On 24 August 1969, while participating in combat approximately 12 miles northwest of Vandergrift Combat Base in Quang Tri Province, he was mortally wounded.

His medals and decorations include: the Medal of Honor, the Purple Heart, the Combat Action Ribbon, the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal with one bronze star, and the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal.

Medal of Honor Citation

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as an assistant team leader with Company E, in connection with combat operations against an armed enemy. While conducting a patrol during the early morning hours L/Cpl. Anderson’s reconnaissance team came under a heavy volume of automatic weapons and machinegun fire from a numerically superior and well concealed enemy force. Although painfully wounded in both legs and knocked to the ground during the initial moments of the fierce fire fight, L/Cpl. Anderson assumed a prone position and continued to deliver intense suppressive fire in an attempt to repulse the attackers. Moments later he was wounded a second time by an enemy soldier who had approached to within 8 feet of the team’s position. Undaunted, he continued to pour a relentless stream of fire at the assaulting unit, even while a companion was treating his leg wounds. Observing an enemy grenade land between himself and the other marine, L/Cpl. Anderson immediately rolled over and covered the lethal weapon with his body, absorbing the full effects of the detonation. By his indomitable courage, inspiring initiative, and selfless devotion to duty, L/Cpl. Anderson was instrumental in saving several marines from serious injury or possible death. His actions were in keeping with the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and of the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life in the service of his country

3rd Recon Battalion Richard Anderson Pages