Distinguished Service Cross

Donald A. Orsini


Captain Infantry

Company D, 1st Battalion, 12 Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile)

15 December 1967

Republic of Vietnam


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

Captain Orsini distinguished himself by exceptionally valorous actions on 15 December 1967 as commander of an infantry company conducting a search and destroy mission.  His unit was moving toward a small village when it was subjected to intense automatic weapons and small arms fire from a well entrenched and numerically superior North Vietnamese Army force.  Captain Orsini quickly moved forward to the point of heaviest contact and deployed his troops in defensive positions.  When he was informed that the men of the company’s right flank security element were wounded and unable to take cover, he fearlessly raced across one hundred meters of bullet-swept terrain to rescue the casualties.  He reached them only to find that they had been killed.  Returning to his command post, Captain Orsini learned that three soldiers of the point element were pinned down fifty meters to the front by the hostile fusillade.  Braving a withering hail of enemy fire, he led two men to assist the beleaguered troops.  One volunteer was killed and the other wounded by a North Vietnamese sniper, and Captain Orsini was forced to withdraw, carrying his wounded comrade back to the company’s defensive perimeter.  He then called for armored personnel carriers to cover the withdrawal of the point men.  When they arrived, he resumed his rescue efforts under their heavy suppressive fire.  Although seriously wounded by the explosion of an enemy recoilless rifle round, Captain Orsini refused medical treatment and guided the beleaguered troops to safety. Captain Orsini'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.

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