The President of the United States
in the name of The Congress
takes pleasure in presenting the
Medal of Honor
*SMEDLEY, LARRY E.
Rank and organization: Corporal, U.S.
Marine Corps, Company D, 1st Battalion, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division. Place and
Date: Quang Nam Province, Republic of Vietnam, 21 December 1967. Entered service
at: Orlando, Fla. Born: 4 March 1949, Front Royal, Va.
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the
call of duty while serving as a squad leader with company D, in connection with operations
against the enemy. On the evenings of 20-21 December 1967, Cpl. Smedley led his 6-man
squad to an ambush site at the mouth of Happy Valley, near Phouc Ninh (2) in Quang Nam
Province. Later that night an estimated 100 Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Army regulars,
carrying 122mm rocket launchers and mortars, were observed moving toward Hill 41.
Realizing this was a significant enemy move to launch an attack on the vital Danang
complex, Cpl. Smedley immediately took sound and courageous action to stop the enemy
threat. After he radioed for a reaction force, he skillfully maneuvered his men to a more
advantageous position and led an attack on the numerically superior enemy force. A heavy
volume of fire from an enemy machinegun positioned on the left flank of the squad
inflicted several casualties on Cpl. Smedley's unit. Simultaneously, an enemy rifle
grenade exploded nearby, wounding him in the right foot and knocking him to the ground.
Cpl. Smedley disregarded this serious injury and valiantly struggled to his feet, shouting
words of encouragement to his men. He fearlessly led a charge against the enemy machinegun
emplacement, firing his rifle and throwing grenades, until he was again struck by enemy
fire and knocked to the ground. Gravely wounded and weak from loss of blood, he rose and
commenced a l-man assault against the enemy position. Although his aggressive and
singlehanded attack resulted in the destruction of the machinegun, he was struck in the
chest by enemy fire and fell mortally wounded. Cpl. Smedley's inspiring and courageous
actions, bold initiative, and selfless devotion to duty in the face of certain death were
in keeping with the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the U.S. Naval Service. He
gallantly gave his life for his country.