For extraordinary heroism while serving as a Crew Chief with Company A, First Amphibian Tractor Battalion, Third Marine Division (Reinforced), in the Republic of Vietnam on 20 January 1968.
Company A was participating in blocking operations in conjunction with the Junk Fleet and Vietnamese Popular Forces units along the Cua Viet River near the village of My Loc in Quang Tri Province. As Corporal Ralya's platoon was moving into its blocking position, it suddenly came under intense small-arms and automatic weapons fire and antitank grenade attack from a company-sized North Vietnamese Army ambush force, disabling the platoon's tractor and wounding several Marines.
Immediately assessing the situation, Corporal Ralya, heedless of his own safety, unhesitatingly left the relative security of the amphibian tractor and advanced to the open ground on one side of the vehicle and courageously remained exposed to the intense hostile fires while he delivered accurate M-79 grenade fire against the enemy, destroying two automatic weapons positions.
Displaying exceptional combat skill and initiative he fearlessly moved to an open area in front of the tractor where his accurate fire destroyed the North Vietnamese antitank grenade launcher that had damaged his vehicle With the amphibian tractor affording the only protection in the immediate area, he steadfastly remained in his exposed situation and delivered highly effective covering fire that enabled the wounded to be moved to safety behind the vehicle.
Ignoring a painful injury and refusing to move to the protection of the vehicle, Corporal Ralya continued to fire his weapon until he was wounded a second time and knocked to the ground by the intense North Vietnamese fire. He had risen from the ground and continued to place accurate fire toward the enemy when he was hit for the third time. Refusing medical attention, he handed his weapon to another Marine and, armed with hand grenades, began to crawl toward the enemy positions.
He had traveled only a short distance when he succumbed to his wounds. His determined fighting spirit, strong initiative and devotion to duty at great personal risk contributed substantially to the saving of his fellow Marines from further injury and possible death and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.
He gallantly gave his life for his country.