In 1968 Drew Dix risked his life rescuing helpless civilians from the horror of the North Vietnamese Tet offensive. In doing so he became the first enlisted man in Special Forces
to be awarded the Medal of Honor.
Dix joined the Army in 1962 and volunteered for Special Forces after more than four years with the 82nd Airborne Division. He was sent to Vietnam as a Senior Advisor to the Civil Operations & Rural Development Support (CORDS) unit, which assisted the local government’s pacification
Stationed in Chau Doc Province on the Cambodian border, Staff Sergeant Dix was out on a routine patrol on 31st January 1968 when the Communists launched their surprise attacks. Reacting quickly and with the assistance of two Navy SEALs
, he successfully rescued a nurse who was trapped in a house in the center of Chau Phu city. Dix then organized and led another team, saving eight civilians from an office block that was under heavy mortar and small-arms fire.
Rather than rest, he returned to the dangerous city center to search for more civilians. However, as he approached a building he was attacked by intense machinegun fire. Dix single-handedly assaulted the building, killing six Viet Cong
(VC) and freeing two Filipinos.
The next day, with fierce fighting still raging around the City, Dix took it upon himself to assemble a twenty-man team and in clearing a hotel, a theatre and a number of other buildings he captured twenty prisoners, including a high ranking VC official. He then attacked enemy troops who had entered the residence of the Deputy Province Chief and managed to save the official's wife and children.
S/Sgt. Dix's bravery inspired others during the fighting and resulted in fourteen confirmed Viet Cong killed in action, the capture of twenty prisoners, fifteen weapons, and the rescue of fourteen civilians. For his heroic acts he was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Johnson at the White House on 16th January 1969, becoming the first Special Forces NCO to win the award.
Dix went on to accept a direct commission to 1st Lieutenant and after a twenty-year career in the military he retired as a Major. After leaving the Army he worked in support of government sponsored programs and owned and operated an air service in the Alaskan interior.
Further InformationDrew Dix Interview (2004)The Rescue of River City
by Drew Dix. Dix’ own account of the fifty-six hour battle during the Tet offensive that resulted in his award of the Medal of Honor.DrewDix.com