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Randall Walter Austin

Home of record: Glenside Pennsylvania


Silver Star

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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 Silver Star to Lieutenant Colonel Randall Walter Austin (MCSN: 0-75337), United States Marine Corps, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action on 15 May 1975 as the Commanding Officer, Second Battalion, Ninth Marines while engaged in the recovery of SS MAYAGUEZ which had been seized in the Gulf of Thailand by units of the Cambodian Navy. Landing on Koh Tang Island after being diverted to an alternate landing zone due to a heavy volume of enemy fire and with his raiding force spread over the northwestern and northeastern portions of the island, Lieutenant Colonel Austin immediately established communications with these elements and began coordination of supporting arms. With only 26 Marines and three corpsmen and despite being pinned down by heavy small arms fire and constant sniper fire, he organized his command and support group into an assault force and attacked the enemy's southern flank for over 1,800 meters, overrunning several bunker complexes and supporting firing positions, destroying or disposing of all enemy munitions and supplies along the way. In addition, he skillfully employed his 81-mm. mortars against enemy positions and enemy concentrations which destroyed at least one enemy mortar position and helped break up a determined enemy counterattack on the beleaguered landing zone perimeter. After linkup, Lieutenant Colonel Austin directed naval gunfire and air strikes on enemy positions. Despite continuous small arms fire, he calmly walked the lines of the perimeter, giving encouragement to the men and comforting the wounded. After extraction was ordered, he coordinated the systematic withdrawal of his force under increasingly intense enemy fire. By his daring actions, inspiring leadership, and undaunted courage in the face of grave personal risk, Lieutenant Colonel Austin upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and of the United States Naval Service.

Action Date: May 15, 1975

Service: Marine Corps

Rank: Lieutenant Colonel

Company: Commanding Officer

Battalion: 2d Battalion

Regiment: 9th Marines

Legion of Merit

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Awarded for actions during the Peace Time Awards

(Citation Needed) - SYNOPSIS: Colonel Randall Walter Austin (MCSN: 0-75337), United States Marine Corps, was awarded the Legion of Merit for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services to the Government of the United States.

Service: Marine Corps

Rank: Colonel