The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the
SILVER STAR MEDAL to
Cpl ERNEST W. TUTEN
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 Corporal Ernest W. Tuten, United States Marine Corps, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action while serving as a Machine Gunner in the Second Platoon, Company K, 3d Battalion, 3d Marines, 3d Marine Division (Rein.), FMF, in connection with combat operations against the enemy in the Republic of Vietnam on 25 May 19689 during Operation VIRGINIA RIDGE. Corporal Tuten's platoon was engaged in an attack on a large North Vietnamese Army unit in Quang Tri Province. The lead elements in the attack had come under a heavy volume of mortar, rifle grenade, automatic weapons, and machine gun fire and sustained numerous casualties including a platoon commander and the point squad leader. The Second Platoon of Kilo Company, to which Corporal Tuten's machine gun team was attached, was ordered forward to continue the attack and to assault the North Vietnamese Army force. As they maneuvered across the fire-swept terrain, the Second Platoon's momentum of attack was slowed and brought almost to a halt by heavy contact and the numerous casualties inflicted by an enemy machine gun located in a well entrenched bunker. After numerous attempts to dislodge the machine gun by mortars, artillery, and finally fixed wing aircraft making repeated drops on the hill top bunker, Corporal Tuten, with complete disregard for his own safety, stood and exposed himself to the intense hostile fire and boldly assaulted the well fortified machine gun. Firing directly at the bunker, he was able to keep the enemy machine gunner pinned down and neutralized to the point that the enemy bunker was unable to fire their weapons at the advancing Marines. Throwing himself on the ground less than 20 meters from the opening of the bunker, he continued to pour a devastating stream of machine gun fire into the firing aperture of the bunker, enabling the fire team that was following him to maneuver to the side, throw a grenade into the bunker, and destroy the enemy machine gun position. Corporal Tuten's courageous, single-handed assault allowed the Second Platoon to reorganize to continue the assault on the North Vietnamese Army position, driving them from their hill top bunker complex and forcing them to retreat into the demilitarized zone. His heroic actions and aggressive determination inspired all who observed him and were instrumental in the defeat of a numerically superior enemy force. Corporal Tuten's unwavering courage, aggressiveness, and loyal devotion to duty at great personal risk reflected great credit upon himself and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and of the United States Naval Service.