During 2019, Freedoms Foundation and the Friends of the Medal of Honor Grove are paying tribute to the living recipients of the Medal of Honor on the anniversary of the actions for which they earned the nation’s highest award for valor. The series continues with Capt. Robert F. Foley, commander of Company A, 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry, 25th Infantry Division, whose unit was sent on a rescue mission to save fellow soldiers who were surrounded by North Vietnamese forces near Quan Dau Tieng, South Vietnam, on Nov. 5, 1966.
Robert Foley’s Medal of Honor citation reads:
“For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty.
“Capt. Foley’s company was ordered to extricate another company of the battalion. Moving through the dense jungle to aid the besieged unit, Company A encountered a strong enemy force occupying well-concealed, defensive positions, and the company’s leading element quickly sustained several casualties. Capt. Foley immediately ran forward to the scene of the most intense action to direct the company’s efforts.
“Deploying one platoon on the flank, he led the other two platoons in an attack on the enemy in the face of intense fire. During this action both radio operators accompanying him were wounded. At grave risk to himself he defied the enemy’s murderous fire, and helped the wounded operators to a position where they could receive medical care.
“As he moved forward again one of his machine gun crews was wounded. Seizing the weapon, he charged forward firing the machine gun, shouting orders and rallying his men, thus maintaining the momentum of the attack.
“Under increasingly heavy enemy fire he ordered his assistant to take cover and, alone, Capt. Foley continued to advance firing the machine gun until the wounded had been evacuated and the attack in this area could be resumed.
“When movement on the other flank was halted by the enemy’s fanatical defense, Capt. Foley moved to personally direct this critical phase of the battle. Leading the renewed effort he was blown off his feet and wounded by an enemy grenade. Despite his painful wounds he refused medical aid and persevered in the forefront of the attack on the enemy redoubt. He led the assault on several enemy gun emplacements and, single-handedly, destroyed three such positions.
“His outstanding personal leadership under intense enemy fire during the fierce battle which lasted for several hours, inspired his men to heroic efforts and was instrumental in the ultimate success of the operation. Capt. Foley’s magnificent courage, selfless concern for his men, and professional skill reflect the utmost credit upon himself and the U.S. Army.”
In Medal of Honor: Portraits of Valor Beyond the Call of Duty, Peter Collier writes:
“As a result of recommendations his soldiers had written after this action, Robert Foley was awarded the Medal of Honor on May 1, 1968, by President Lyndon Johnson, who also presented one to Sgt. John Baker, one of Foley’s men who had distinguished himself in that engagement.
“Foley remained in the Army until 2000, attaining the rank of lieutenant general. He ended his 37-year military career as the commander of the Fifth Army, then became president of Marion Military Institute in Alabama, the nation’s oldest military preparatory school and junior college.” He later served U.S. Army soldiers and their families as director of Army Emergency Relief, a nonprofit in Washington, D.C.
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