You are on page 1of 4

Ron Dash Front left 1968

Ron Dash, today


Ron Dash, left, escorts Eva Hemingway-Shannon after the funeral service for her son U.S. Army SSgt. Terry Hemingway at the Church of The
Good Shepherd United Methodist in Willingboro, N.J. Monday, April 21, 2003. Hemingway was awarded the Purple Heart and the Order of the
Purple Heart Distinguished Service Award during his funeral. Hemingway was killed April 10, 2003, in an apparent suicide attack in Iraq. (AP
Photo/Brian Branch-Price)
On the morning of August 31, 1968, while conducting mine-sweeping duty on the left flank of
their Battalion, Ron's squad came under hostile fire from the enemy on Hill 147 in the An Wah
valley. Ron's squad leader, Lance Corporal Michael J. Maloof, directed Ron, the grenadier of his
squad, to fire his M-79 grenade launcher at a tree to their front, where a heavy concentration of
fire was coming from. Ron aimed his weapon and suddenly he and his squad leader were
enveloped in a large explosion.
Stunned, blinded and momentarily in shock from the powerful explosion, Ron's hearing was also
impaired. When his ears began to regain their function (although still ringing badly), Ron
immediately responded to the desperate cries and screams from his squad leader next to him,
who was severely wounded.
Other members of his squad were yelling "Ron, help Mike!". His awareness returning, Ron,
noting his squad leader, was bleeding out, took his own first aid kit along with Mike's and
applied them to stem the bleeding. Once this was accomplished, Ron, with his leader now unable
to act further, took charge of his squad in the finest tradition of the United States Marine Corps.
Still in shock, the shouts from his fellow members of his squad alerted him to the fact that he,
too, was bleeding profusely.
"Stay where you are" Ron shouted.
The squad members all remained in their exact same positions for fear of triggering another
mine, if that was in fact the cause of the destructive explosion and not an incoming enemy mortar
round. Ron, then and only then, having provided first aid to his squad leader and insured all
members of his squad were in the proper defensive positions, began tominister to his own
wounds. The entire right side of Ron's body had received the full force of the blast that shredded
his flak jacket, demolishing all ten packs of cigarettes he had attached in various locations to his
jacket and causing penetrating wounds in multiple locations on his torso. Ron was bleeding
profusely from a deep wound on his upper right leg, and as he had already given his first aid
pouch to help his squad leader, he tore a piece of his shirt to use as a bandage and tourniquet to
stem the bleeding as much as possible.
Ron, acknowledging shouts from members of his squad, now realized he was also bleeding
heavily from a wound to his upper right chest. Placing his thumb into the opening to stem the
flow of blood, Ron crawled to cover with his unit, and continued to return fire.
The squad was still under constant enemy small arms and mortar fire. Ron realizing his
inexperienced radio operator was incapable of contacting Med-Evac, crawled the ten feet to his
comrades position and assumed the duties of calling in aid and support. Having notified Med-
Evac of their situation and need for immediate medical help, Ron then continued to lead the
squad in defense of their position loading, aiming, and firing his M-79 grenade launcher to
great effect at the various enemy positions he felt were supplying the most effective fire on he
and his squads location.
During the thirty minutes or more it took for the Med-Evac crew to arrive, PFC Dash, again in
the finest tradition of the United States Marine Corps, continued to effectively return enemy fire
with his M-79 grenade launcher causing destruction of the most active enemy positions and
thereby prevented enemy combatants from over-running their position and inflicting any further
injuries to his squad.
The Med-Evac helicopter was forced to land nearly a mile away as Ron's squad's position was
too "HOT" to bring the chopper any closer. The Marine reinforcements and relief group,
grasping the seriousness of their two fellow Marines conditions, immediately placed them on
litters and carried them directly back to the Med-Evac helicopter.
Shortly after lifting off, an enemy bullet pierced the floor of the helicopter between Ron and his
squad leader. Ron then reached across from his own litter, pushing his wounded comrade's litter
to a more heavily protected area on the floor of the helicopter.
The bullet that passed through the deck also struck the engine of the helicopter, briefly cutting
off power in-flight, and it began to bank steeply. Swift action by the air crew restored the
engines operation, however, and there were no further indications of enemy fire hitting their
craft and they reached the hospital without any additional problems.
Ron's quick action, assuming tactical command of the situation despite being seriously wounded,
exemplifies the finest tradition of the United States Marine Corps, and certainly saved the life of
his squad leader, as well as helped prevent any further casualties to his squad, who, under his
leadership, were able to stop their position from being overrun.
At the hospital two days later, United States Marine Corps Brigadier General Olson presented
Private First Class Ronald Dash with the Purple Heart. Brigadier General Olson then quizzed
Ron extensively regarding the action he had just participated against the enemy.
After hearing Ron's description of his heroic action in saving the life of his squad leader and
prevention of the enemy from over-running their position through his aggressive, timely and
effective action against the enemy, Brigadier General Olson informed Ron that it was his
intention to recommend him for the Silver Star for his gallantry and resourcefulness under fire.
Ron was not returned to his outfit when he recovered from his wounds, however, and the
necessary corroborating reports were not obtained. This is a possible reason he never received
his Silver Star.
Ron is now a one hundred percent disabled veteran from his physical and mental wounds he
received while serving his country as a United States Marine. His actions clearly rise to the
standard of gallantry required for the honor promised him, and he would dearly appreciate any
help that may be provided in his obtaining his much desired and well deserved Silver Star.
Sometimes, when the fight is long over, a medal means as much to those who served with the
man honored, as to the man honored by it.

Ron Dash has been a friend to all veterans, and has worked tirelessly to secure honor and
recognition for others.

Hes earned this.

Lets get this done.
SEMPER FI!