Distinguished Service Cross

Robert L. Helvey


Captain Infantry

Company A, 2nd Battalion, 12th Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile)

7 January 1968

Republic of Vietnam


For extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations involving conflict with an armed hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam:

Captain Helvey distinguished himself by exceptionally valorous actions on 7 January 1968 while serving as a company commander during a search and destroy mission near Landing Zone Ross in the Que Son Valley.  His company was attacked from well concealed and emplaced positions by an estimated North Vietnamese Army battalion firing machine guns and mortars.  One platoon was cut off from the rest of the unit.  Captain Helvey sent a call for reinforcements to a sister company and an armored cavalry troop.  Then, with complete disregard for his safety, he ran to an advantageous but completely exposed position to direct artillery, aerial rockets and helicopter gunship fire into the massing North Vietnamese.  When the armored personnel carriers and tanks arrived he directed an assault which enabled his isolated platoon to rejoin the rest of the unit.  The sister company fought through the enemy lines and the three units formed a defensive perimeter.  As the North Vietnamese were reinforced and increased their supporting heavy weapons fires, the armored troop’s commander was mortally wounded, and vital communications equipment destroyed.  Captain Helvey personally led sever counterattacks on the surrounding enemy searching for weaknesses in their envelopment.  Determining that a breakout was imperative, he again exposed himself to the intense fire to coordinate the maneuver with all elements.  In the breakout the other company commander became a casualty, and Captain Helvey exposed himself to increasingly heavy fire to direct that unit’s movement.  As he continued the attempted escape, he led his men through an enemy trench line, fighting off the North Vietnamese at ranges as close as three feet.  He was painfully wounded in the leg during this action, but he refused medical treatment for himself to successfully complete his units’ escape, leading them to the comparative safety of Landing Zone Ross. Captain Helvey’s extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.