Fitzgerald, William Charles, LT

Fallen
 
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Last Rank
Lieutenant
Last Primary NEC
111X-Unrestricted Line Officer - Surface Warfare
Last Rating/NEC Group
Line Officer
Primary Unit
1966-1967, 111X, Coastal Group 16, Naval Advisory Group Vietnam
Service Years
1956 - 1967
Lieutenant
Lieutenant

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

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Home State
Vermont
Vermont
Year of Birth
1938
 
This Military Service Page was created/owned by James Marsh, PCC-Deceased to remember Fitzgerald, William Charles (Bill), LT.

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Casualty Info
Home Town
Montpelier, VT
Last Address
Not Specified

Casualty Date
Aug 07, 1967
 
Cause
Hostile, Died
Reason
Gun, Small Arms Fire
Location
Quang Ngai (Vietnam)
Conflict
Vietnam War
Location of Interment
Berlin Corner Cemetery - Berlin Corners, Vermont
Wall/Plot Coordinates
24E 086

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 Military Association Memberships
Vietnam Veterans MemorialUnited States Navy Memorial The National Gold Star Family Registry
  2012, Vietnam Veterans Memorial [Verified] - Assoc. Page
  2013, United States Navy Memorial - Assoc. Page
  2015, The National Gold Star Family Registry

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 Duty Stations
USS Samuel B. Roberts (DD-823)USS Hugh Purvis (DD-709)USS Gearing (DD-710)NAS Norfolk
US Naval Academy Annapolis (Faculty Staff)USS Charles H. Roan (DD-853)NavPhib School, Coronado, CANaval Advisory Group Vietnam
  1956-1958, USS Samuel B. Roberts (DD-823)
  1958-1958, USS Hugh Purvis (DD-709)
  1959-1959, USS Gearing (DD-710)
  1959-1960, NAS Norfolk
  1960-1963, US Naval Academy Annapolis (Faculty Staff)
  1963-1966, 111X, USS Charles H. Roan (DD-853)
  1966-1966, 111X, NavPhib School, Coronado, CA
  1966-1967, 111X, Coastal Group 16, Naval Advisory Group Vietnam
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1971-1973 Vietnam War
 Colleges Attended 
United States Naval Academy
  1960-1963, United States Naval Academy1
 Other News, Events and Photographs
 
  Service Number
  Jun 29, 2015, General Photos2
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

At about 0300 on 7 August 1967, Coastal Defense Group Sixteen's compound came under vicious attack by two Viet Cong battalions. The assault began with an intense mortar barrage followed immediately by the advance of troops. Fitzgerald, the senior American commander, immediately ordered a retreat of the civilians within the compound. Because of the compound's location adjacent to a river and the aggressors' position, the only escape route was via water in small boats.

Lieutenant Fitzgerald and three others delayed their retreat as long as possible in order to provide covering fire and to direct fire from surrounding friendly forces. Many calls were made to orbiting gunship aircraft, artillery units, and Fast Patrol Craft to provide defensive fire. The Viet Cong attack, however, was swift and well coordinated. It soon became apparent that the South Vietnamese forces were decimated and that the American bunker was the sole remaining source of resistance. As the situation deteriorated, Fitzgerald ordered his last three remaining defenders to retreat while he used arms fire to cover their escape. Fitzgerald was mortally wounded in this action.

   
Comments/Citation

 
Name of Award
Navy Cross
Year Awarded
1967
Details behind Award:
Awarded for actions during the Vietnam War

The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Navy Cross (Posthumously) to Lieutenant William Charles Fitzgerald (NSN: 0-669041), United States Navy, for extraordinary heroism on 7 August 1967 while serving as Senior Advisor to Vietnamese Navy Coastal Group SIXTEEN in connection with combat operations against the communist insurgents (Viet Cong) in the Republic of Vietnam. When Coastal Group 16 was taken under a coordinated attack by numerically superior Viet Cong forces, Lieutenant Fitzgerald immediately established communications with the Vietnamese Navy commanding officer, and attempted to coordinate assistance with free-world forces in the area. The enemy fire soon became too intense for the outnumbered base defense force to resist successfully and the Viet Cong completely overran the base. Aware that his bunker was the only remaining source of resistance, Lieutenant Fitzgerald requested an artillery barrage to be laid down on his own position and ordered his men to evacuate the base toward the river. He gallantly remained in the command bunker in order to provide cover fire for the evacuating personnel. Before Lieutenant Fitzgerald could carry out his own escape, he was fatally shot by the Viet Cong aggressors. By his fearless dedication to duty, courage under fire, and heroic actions in defense of the base, despite overwhelming odds, Lieutenant Fitzgerald served as an inspiration to all persons engaged in the counterinsurgency effort in Vietnam and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

General Orders: Authority: Navy Department Board of Decorations and Medals
Action Date: 7-Aug-67
Service: Navy
Rank: Lieutenant
Company: Advisor (Attached)
Regiment: Vietnamese Navy Coastal Group 16
   
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