Awarded for actions during the Vietnam War
The President of the United States of America , authorized by Act of Congress, July 9, 1918 (amended by act of July 25, 1963), takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross to Specialist Fourth Class (then Private First Class) Ralph Smith (ASN: US- 53438628), United States Army, for extraordinary heroism in the connection with military operations involving conflict with an armed hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam, while serving with Company C, 2d Battalion, 27th Infantry, 2d Brigade, 25th Infantry Division. Specialist Four Smith Distinguished himself by exceptionally valorous action on 16 May 1967 while serving as squad leader with an infantry company on a night assault mission near Ap Rach Gau. While moving across a rice paddy to join with a company trapped by a numerically superior enemy unit, his platoon was attacked by a well-entrenched Viet Cong force firing machine guns and automatic weapons. Seeing his machine gunner killed, Specialist Smith grabbed the weapon and led a fierce attack on the nearest enemy bunker. After killing the protecting riflemen with an accurate volley, he placed the muzzle of his weapon into the firing port and destroyed the position with a deadly burst of fire. He saw a platoon of Viet Cong escaping across an open field and ran to a dike to attempt to halt them. Ignoring a hail of bullets striking all around him, he stood up and inflicted heavy casualties with volley after volley of deadly fire. Regrouping his men, he led a furious charge on the determined insurgents which defeated them and forced them to withdraw. His courageous actions inspired his men to greater heights and contributed immeasurable to the success of the mission. Specialist Four Smith’s extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Aarmy.
General Orders: Headquarters, U.S. Army, Vietnam, General Orders No. 4967
(September 28, 1967)