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John Kizirian


Distinguished Service Cross

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Awarded for actions during the Vietnam War

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 9, 1918 (amended by act of July 25, 1963), takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross to Lieutenant Colonel (Military Intelligence Corps) John Kizirian (ASN: 0-91916), United States Army, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations involving conflict with an armed hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam, while serving with Advisory Team 95, Technical Intelligence Detachment, 525th Military Intelligence Group. Lieutenant Colonel Kizirian distinguished himself by exceptionally valorous actions on 12 and 13 May 1967 while serving as III Corps G-2 advisor on a combat patrol near Bien Hoa. Intelligence reports indicated that a Viet Cong force which had recently attacked the air base was operating in the vicinity, and he led a Vietnamese company-size combat patrol in pursuit of the enemy. Preplanned air strikes hit the hostile fortifications before he reached them, but he ignored the warning which the attack gave to the hostile forces and moved in to assess the bomb damage. He moved to the front of the patrol when it became momentarily disorganized in the dense jungle and quickly rallied his men and moved toward the objective. While crossing a river, he detected a fleeing Viet Cong force and immediately pursued them until he reached an area which he suspected was their camp. Deploying his main force for security, he led three men to the edge of a clearing but was pinned down by small arms and grenade fire. The company could not get to the firefight because of dense jungle and intense firepower which pinned them down, but Colonel Kizirian moved through a hail of bullets to lead them in an attack on the camp which routed the insurgents after they had suffered heavy casualties. He personally killed two insurgents with accurate fire and supervised the destruction of the bunker and tunnel complex used as a regimental base camp. While he led his men back to base, the Viet Cong repeatedly harassed the patrol from ambush. He exposed himself to withering fire time after time to fight furiously and inflict heavy casualties on the determined insurgents. Lieutenant Colonel Kizirian'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.

General Orders: Headquarters, U.S. Army, Vietnam, General Orders No. 5965 (November 18, 1967)

Action Date: May 12 & 13, 1967

Service: Army

Rank: Lieutenant Colonel

Company: Advisory Team 95, Technical Intelligence Detachment

Regiment: 525th Military Intelligence Group