Suggested Award Citation

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Below is the suggested award citation written by then-First Lieutenant Robert Van Buskirk. This document is available in the National Archives and is not classified. Although the citation indicates that the action occurred in the "Republic of Vietnam", the phrase "deep in enemy-controlled territory" was understood by the cognoscenti to mean Laos/Cambodia/North Vietnam.

Suggested Citation Accompanying
Statement of Lt. Robert Van Buskirk
Specialist Five Craig D. Schmidt, 543-60-1312, United States Army, Special Operations Augmentation, Command and Control Detachment Central, 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), 1st Special Forces, Republic of Vietnam, is recommended for award of the Silver Star Medal for heroism in battle during the period 12 through 14 September 1970 in connection with military operations against hostile enemy force in the Republic of Vietnam. SP5 Schmidt was serving as a squad leader with a company-size exploitation force that was on a mission deep in enemy-controlled territory. On the morning of the 12th, the first platoon came under fire from an estimated 40 NVA employing automatic weapons, B-40 rockets, mortars and hand grenades. SP5 Schmidt was called upon to reinforce the left flank. He immediately moved his men into position but was wounded by an enemy grenade. Some of his SCU [Montagnards] squad members were also wounded and others refused to advance into the heavy fire. Although wounded, SP5 Schmidt continued his advance into the fire, disregarding his own safety and delivering heavy fire on the enemy. Only two of his squad members followed him. Their accurate fire killed many of the enemy and the others were forced to withdraw to the fight where they were cutoff by another squad. This contact lasted over an hour. SP5 Schmidt's aggressiveness and excellent conduct under fire greatly contributed to the annihilation of almost the entire enemy force. The next day, 13 September, another group of enemy struck the forward element of the company as they left their RON [rest overnight] site. SP5 Schmidt had been wounded a second time and was in the. center of the company with the other wounded personnel. Two men were attempting to hold off the numerically superior enemy force. SP5 Schmidt left his safer position with the other wounded and moved alone to the point of contact and began firing on the enemy. On the 14th of September the point element was again pinned down by enemy fire, from the direct front. The squads moved on line and began an assault on the enemy position. SP5 Schmidt was the leader of one of these squads and despite his wounds he charged forward towards the enemy location. They soon discovered that the enemy were trying to protect their base camp, a battalion-size, well-defended area. SP5 Schmidt led his men into the camp, through the enemy fire. The assaults was a success and 54 enemy were found dead in the camp. There were more dead on the flanks and in the front. When the company later moved to a landing zone for extraction they were subjected to tear gas that had been dropped by friendly aircraft but then drifted to their position. There were three minutes in which to find an LZ. Although wounded and sick from the gas SP5 Schmidt ran past his point man and began jumping up and down to flatten the tall elephant grass. [emphasis supplied] It was largely due to his actions that the landing zone was cleared and the company was able to be extracted. His courage and valor throughout this operation reflect great credit upon himself and are well deserving of the Silver Star Medal.

1.   Eyewitness Statement     Robert L. Van Buskirk   1LT   [Signature] 2.   Proposed Citation

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Creation Date: Friday, July 24, 1998
Last Modified: Friday, July 24, 1998
Copyright © Ray Smith, 1998