The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the
SILVER STAR MEDAL to
LtCol JAMES W. MARSH
United States Marine Corps
For service as set forth in the following
" The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star to Lieutenant Colonel James Wesley Marsh, United States Marine Corps, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action while serving as Commanding Officer of the Third Battalion, Third Marines, Third Marine Division (Rein.), FMF, in connection with operations against the enemy in the Republic of Vietnam. On 6 March 1968, during a search and destroy operation northeast of Con Thien, elements of the Third Battalion became heavily engaged with a numerically superior North Vietnamese Army force situated in fortified positions and supported by artillery. As the lead elements of one company sustained numerous casualties among its key personnel, Lieutenant Colonel Marsh directed the company to withdraw to facilitate the use of supporting arms. Realizing that the enemy was initiating a counterattack on both flanks of the engaged company in an attempt to isolate it from the battalion, he deployed a reserve platoon and his own command group to repel the attacking force. Completely disregarding his own safety, he then advanced across seventy-five meters of fire-swept terrain to the point of heaviest contact where he realized the engaged element did not have sufficient men to maintain fire superiority and simultaneously evacuate its casualties. Immediately returning to his command post and organizing a litter detail, Lieutenant Colonel Marsh repeatedly exposed himself to intense enemy fire as he moved about the hazardous area directing the recovery of casualties, personally evacuating eight injured Marines. As the battalion moved to more advantageous positions and established landing zones, heavy artillery was adjusted on the new locations, causing additional casualties. Undaunted by the hostile fire, Lieutenant Colonel Marsh continued to ignore his own safety as he assisted the wounded. Only after he was assured that all casualties were sheltered from the enemy artillery fire, would he seek cover for himself. Upon arrival of the evacuation helicopters, he led members of his command group in carrying injured men to the aircraft and, although at the point of physical exhaustion, continued his determined efforts until every wounded Marine had been evacuated. His aggressive leadership was instrumental in the battalion repelling a determined enemy counterattack and accounting for eighty-one North Vietnamese confirmed killed. By his courage, bold initiative and selfless devotion to duty at great personal risk, Lieutenant Colonel Marsh inspired all who observed him and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and of the United States Naval Service."