The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the
SILVER STAR to
Captain SAMMY LEE OWENS
United States Marine Corps
For actions as described in the following
"The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star to Captain Sammy Lee Owens, United States Marine Corps, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action while serving as Commanding Officer, Company B, Third Reconnaissance Battalion, THIRD Marine Division, in connection with military operations against insurgent communist (Viet Cong) forces in the Republic of Vietnam. On 20 June 1966, Captain Owens mobilized two of his platoons and proceeded deep into Viet Cong territory to recover the body of one of his men who had been killed during an ambush the previous day. While halted to reconnoiter a stream prior to crossing, Captain Owens' patrol was attacked by an estimated force of forty Viet Cong who attempted to surround and destroy the Marines. During the next hour and a half of intense fighting that ensued, Captain Owens displayed bold leadership and professionalism in directing his unit. Immediately moving his men into a strong defensive perimeter, he led them in a systematic destruction of the enemy positions. Taking control of the radio, he expertly called in artillery and UH-1E helicopter rocket and machine gun fire to within fifty meters of his position, which resulted in the silencing of one enemy machine gun and two automatic weapons positions. At one point during the vicious battle, a Viet Cong crawled to within twenty yards of the patrol's command post and opened up with grazing automatic fire. Reacting instantly, Captain Owens turned and killed the enemy with a short burst from his rifle. When one of the Corpsmen was critically wounded and required immediate evacuation, Captain Owens gallantly carried the wounded man to the only available helicopter landing zone, a stream bed between the enemy and his own position. With complete disregard for his own safety, he directed the helicopter in for landing and loaded the stricken Corpsman aboard while constantly exposed to hostile fire. Returning to his patrol's position, Captain Owens continued to direct his men's action until the enemy was forced to break contact. Resuming his original assignment, he then led the patrol in the successful completion of his mission. By his daring actions and loyal devotion to duty throughout, Captain Owens upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service."