The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the


Private First Class



 for service as set forth in the following


For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action against the enemy as a Rifleman, Company M, 3d Battalion, 3d Marines, 3d Marine Division during the Battle of Khe Sanh in the Republic of Vietnam. On 30 April 1967, PFC Cordileone’s company (-) attacked to secure Hill 881 South. A numerically superior enemy defended the hill with extensive bunker systems and pre-registered fires. The Marines sustained heavy casualties of over 75 percent (27 KIA and 50 WIA). The hill was a deadly killing zone. The Platoon Leader was killed instantly; the command element decimated. The junior Marines began small unit, individual, and independent coordinated fights for survival. PFC Cordileone initiated multiple one-Marine attacks against the enemy. By his courageous attacks and forward assaults, however, he realized many wounded required recovery from the battlefield. The enemy’s devastatingly accurate fire littered the battlefield with Marine casualties; virtually anyone who moved or who rose more than three feet became an instant target. The enemy snipers targeted the wounded and it was essential they be recovered. Multiple times PFC Cordileone exposed himself to extreme danger to advance and recover the wounded. On one evacuation attempt, two of four Marines were killed and two were wounded. PFC Cordileone sustained serious fragmentation wounds from the intense explosions. The loss of blood and physical exertion of repeatedly attacking and recovering the wounded caused him to temporarily lose consciousness. The Platoon Sergeant ordered him from the hill to receive medical aid at least twice, but PFC Cordileone respectfully continued to relentlessly attack the enemy and recover wounded. PFC Cordileone’s total disregard for his own life and safety, despite his serious wounds, are estimated to have saved over ten Marines. By his faithful dedication, aggressive initiative, and bold courage, PFC Cordileone demonstrated exceptional heroism and reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.  

  For the President

Ray Mabus

  Secretary of the Navy