Ronald Leroy Coker
Rank and organization:
Private First Class, U.S. Marine Corps, Company M, 3d Battalion, 3d Marine Division (Rein), FMF
Place and date:
Quang Tri Province, Republic of Vietnam, 24 March 1969
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a rifleman with Company M in action against enemy forces. While serving as point man for the 2d Platoon, PFC Coker was leading his patrol when he encountered 5 enemy soldiers on a narrow jungle trail. PFC Coker's squad aggressively pursued them to a cave. As the squad neared the cave, it came under intense hostile fire, seriously wounding 1 marine and forcing the others to take cover. Observing the wounded man lying exposed to continuous enemy fire, PFC Coker disregarded his safety and moved across the fire-swept terrain toward his companion. Although wounded by enemy small-arms fire, he continued to crawl across the hazardous area and skillfully threw a hand grenade into the enemy positions, suppressing the hostile fire sufficiently to enable him to reach the wounded man. As he began to drag his injured comrade toward safety, a grenade landed on the wounded marine. Unhesitatingly, PFC Coker grasped it with both hands and turned away from his wounded companion, but before he could dispose of the grenade it exploded. Severely wounded, but undaunted, he refused to abandon his comrade. As he moved toward friendly lines, 2 more enemy grenades exploded near him, inflicting still further injuries. Concerned only for the safety of his comrade, PFC Coker, with supreme effort continued to crawl and pull the wounded marine with him. His heroic deeds inspired his fellow marines to such aggressive action that the enemy fire was suppressed sufficiently to enable others to reach him and carry him to a relatively safe area where he succumbed to his extensive wounds. PFC Coker's indomitable courage, inspiring initiative and selfless devotion to duty upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and of the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.