A Note from The Virtual Wall
On 16 Feb 1969 "D" Company, 1/7 Marines, engaged an enemy force at Phong Thu, west of Hoi An in Quang Nam Province. Lance Corporal Thomas M. Casey was awarded a posthumous Navy Cross for his actions during the fight:
The President of the United States|
takes pride in presenting the
THOMAS MICHAEL CASEY, JR.
for service as set forth in the following
United States Marine Corps
The Navy Cross is presented to Thomas Michael Casey, Jr., Lance Corporal, U.S. Marine Corps, for extraordinary heroism while serving as a Fire Team Leader with Company D, First Battalion, Seventh Marines, First Marine Division (Reinforced), Fleet Marine Force, in connection with operations against the enemy in the Republic of Vietnam. On the afternoon of 16 February 1969, Company D was assaulting a large North Vietnamese Army force occupying a well-entrenched position in Quang Nam Province. Alertly observing an enemy fortification, Lance Corporal Casey launched a determined assault upon the hostile position, delivering accurate fire as he fearlessly maneuvered across fifty meters of fire-swept terrain. Upon reaching the hostile bunker, he boldly hurled grenades into it, destroying the North Vietnamese emplacements and killing an enemy soldier. Disregarding his own safety, he went to several casualties, and ignoring the hostile rounds impacting around him, skillfully administered first aid to his wounded comrades. Realizing the need for an M-79 grenade launcher, he again rushed across the hazardous area and, obtaining the weapon, returned to the position of heaviest contact. When two additional Marines were wounded, he unhesitatingly commenced maneuvering through a hail of fire to assist the injured men, but as he approached the casualties he was mortally wounded. His heroic actions and aggressive fighting spirit inspired all who observed him and were instrumental in saving the lives of several Marines. By his courage, sincere concern for the welfare of his comrades, and selfless devotion to duty, Lance Corporal Casey upheld the highest traditions of the United States Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.
Six Marines died in the fight at Phong Thu:
- Cpl William H. Farvour, Green Bay, WI
- LCpl Thomas M. Casey, Milton, MA (Navy Cross)
- Pfc Michael R. Coon, Fort Worth, TX
- Pfc Craig M. Hemphill, Spokane, WA
- Pfc Dennis L. Riley, Hanover, PA
- Pfc Robert W. Whitney, Riverdale, IL