The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the
Navy Cross Medal to
Captain Merlyn A. Sexton
United States Marine Corps
For extraordinary heroism while serving as Commanding Officer, Company I, 3rd Battalion, 4th Marines, 3rd Marine Division (Reinforced), Fleet Marine Force, in connection with operations against the enemy in the Republic of Vietnam from 19 June to 8 July 1968. Captain Sexton was assigned to defend a ridgeline overlooking National Route One approximately 2,000 meters southeast of the Khe Sanh Combat Base. Despite sporadic mortar and artillery attacks, he established a strong perimeter, developed a fire plan, and conducted offensive patrols throughout the surrounding area. On the night of 30 June, when his position came under attack by a numerically superior North Vietnamese Army force supported by rocket, artillery, and mortar fire, Captain Sexton quickly directed well coordinated supporting arms fire against the hostile positions and consolidated his perimeter. When the enemy penetrated a sector of the protective wire, he fearlessly moved to the point of heaviest contact, rallied his men, and directed their fire against the enemy. Disregarding his own safety, he skillfully adjusted highly accurate artillery fire around the perimeter, forcing the hostile force to break contact and withdraw. Throughout the night, Captain Sexton continued to direct supporting arms fire against the retreating enemy and, on the following morning, dispatched patrols to search out and destroy hidden hostile positions. During the day, he adjusted air strikes by helicopter gunships and fixed-wing aircraft against the enemy's withdrawal routes until assured that his vital position was secure. His sustained heroism in the face of a numerically superior, determined North Vietnamese Army force inspired all who observed him and contributed immeasurably to his unit accounting for 212 North Vietnamese soldiers confirmed killed and 77 weapons seized. By his courage, intrepid fighting spirit, and unwavering devotion to duty at great personal risk, Captain Sexton upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.