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James V. McDaniel


Navy Cross

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Awarded for actions during the S.S. Mayaguez Incident

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to Second Lieutenant James V. McDaniel, United States Marine Corps, for extraordinary heroism on 15 May 1975 as Platoon Commander, First Platoon, Company G, Second Battalion, Ninth Marines, THIRD Marine Division (Reinforced), Fleet Marine Force, while engaged in the recovery of S.S. MAYAGUEZ which had been seized in the Gulf of Thailand by units of the Cambodian Navy. Landing on Koh Tang Island in the first helicopter of the initial assault wave, Second Lieutenant McDaniel's helicopter team immediately came under intense enemy fire. Quickly organizing his small force, he attacked inland, securing a landing zone for subsequent waves. Given the mission of neutralizing an enemy automatic-weapons position, he organized an eight-man patrol. After moving thirty meters through dense undergrowth, the patrol came under a fierce enemy attack, instantly killing his point man and wounding five out of the eight Marines, including Second Lieutenant McDaniel. Painfully wounded and with complete disregard for his own safety, he moved to the front of his patrol, aiding the wounded Marines and directing fire into the enemy. Although in pain from multiple fragmentation wounds and under intense enemy fire, he personally carried two wounded Marines back to friendly lines. Only after ensuring that the wounded Marines were being treated did he accept medical aid and then immediately returned to his Platoon where he directed the defense in his area, routinely exposing himself to enemy fire for the remainder of the day. As the extraction of the Marine force began, he remained in the landing zone, personally ensuring all members of his Platoon were extracted. By his daring actions, inspiring leadership, and undaunted courage in the face of grave danger, Second Lieutenant McDaniel upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.

General Orders: Authority: Navy Department Board of Decorations and Medals

Action Date: 15-May-75

Service: Marine Corps

Rank: Second Lieutenant

Company: Company G

Battalion: 2d Battalion

Regiment: 9th Marine Regiment

Division: 3d Marine Division