THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
ESTABLISHED BY AN ACT OF CONGRESS 9 JULY 1918 (AMENDED BY ACT OF 25 JULY 1963) AND AWARDED BY THE
PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
SILVER STAR MEDAL
SECOND LIEUTENANT OLIVER LAURENCE NORTH
UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS
The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star to Second Lieutenant Oliver Laurence North (MCSN: 0-106162), United States Marine Corps, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action while serving as a Platoon Commander with Company K, Third Battalion, Third Marines, THIRD Marine Division in connection with combat operations against the enemy in the Republic of Vietnam. On 25 May 1969, while Company K was participating in Operation Virginia Ridge near the Demilitarized Zone, the lead platoon came under a heavy volume of machine gun and automatic weapons fire supported by rocket-propelled grenades, directional mines, and mortars. In the initial burst of fire, the platoon commander and point squad leader were seriously wounded. Realizing the need for immediate action, Second Lieutenant North rapidly maneuvered his Second Platoon through the lines of the beleaguered unit and personally initiated an aggressive assault against the North Vietnamese Army emplacement, the momentum of which forced the stunned hostile soldiers to withdraw to another hill and enabled the treatment and evacuation of Marine casualties. After regrouping his forces, he fearlessly led an attack on the enemy’s new position, killing one soldier as his men closed with the enemy, and causing the North Vietnamese Army force to retreat to previously prepared entrenchments on the ridgeline. Again reorganizing his men, Second Lieutenant North, with complete disregard for his own safety, assumed the foremost assault position and seemingly oblivious to the intense machine gun fire impacting around him, led his men against the hostile position. As the tempo of the battle increased, casualties mounted, and his unit’s ammunition supply became short. Unwilling to unnecessarily risk the lives of his men, he halted the attack and, repeatedly exposing himself to the heavy volume of fire delivered by the determined enemy soldiers, boldly directed the resupply of his platoon and the evacuation of the injured Marines. After skillfully adjusting fixed wing air strikes upon the North Vietnamese Army unit, Second Lieutenant North dauntlessly initiated a fourth assault by his wearied men. Calmly braving the intense fire of the tenacious hostile soldiers, he moved from one Marine to another, directing their fire and exciting them to a last bold effort which, by his valorous perseverance, enabled his men to push the remainder of the North Vietnamese Army force from the ridgeline and to seize the objective. His heroic actions and vigorous efforts inspired all who observed him and contributed significantly to the defeat of the enemy. By his courage, dynamic leadership and unwavering devotion to duty in the face of grave personal danger, Second Lieutenant North upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and of the United States Naval Service.
Born: Oct. 7, 1943 in San Antonio, Texas… Graduated U.S. Naval Academy, Class of 1968… Other decorations include the Bronze Star with Combat “V,” the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with Combat “V,” and two Purple Hearts… Retired as lieutenant colonel in 1988