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 Riley Leroy Pitts

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Riley Leroy Pitts

Birth
Fallis, Lincoln County, Oklahoma, USA
Death 31 Oct 1967 (aged 30)
Vietnam
Burial Spencer, Oklahoma County, Oklahoma, USA
Plot Garden of Devotion, Section A, Lot 31, Space 3
Memorial ID 6404095 View Source
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Vietnam War Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient. He served in the United States Army during the War in Vietnam as a Captain commanding Company C, 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry, 25th Infantry Division. He was awarded the CMOH for his bravery and sacrifice on October 31, 1967 at Ap Dong in the Republic of Vietnam. His citation reads "Distinguishing himself by exceptional heroism while serving as company commander during an airmobile assault. Immediately after his company landed in the area, several Viet Cong opened fire with automatic weapons. Despite the enemy fire, Capt. Pitts forcefully led an assault which overran the enemy positions. Shortly thereafter, Capt. Pitts was ordered to move his unit to the north to reinforce another company heavily engaged against a strong enemy force. As Capt. Pitts' company moved forward to engage the enemy, intense fire was received from 3 directions, including fire from 4 enemy bunkers, 2 of which were within 15 meters of Capt. Pitts' position. The severity of the incoming fire prevented Capt. Pitts from maneuvering his company. His rifle fire proving ineffective against the enemy due to the dense jungle foliage, he picked up an M-79 grenade launcher and began pinpointing the targets. Seizing a Chinese Communist grenade which had been taken from a captured Viet Cong's web gear, Capt. Pitts lobbed the grenade at a bunker to his front, but it hit the dense jungle foliage and rebounded. Without hesitation, Capt. Pitts threw himself on top of the grenade which, fortunately, failed to explode. Capt. Pitts then directed the repositioning of the company to permit friendly artillery to be fired. Upon completion of the artillery fire mission, Capt. Pitts again led his men toward the enemy positions, personally killing at least 1 more Viet Cong. The jungle growth still prevented effective fire to be placed on the enemy bunkers. Capt. Pitts, displaying complete disregard for his life and personal safety, quickly moved to a position which permitted him to place effective fire on the enemy. He maintained a continuous fire, pinpointing the enemy's fortified positions, while at the same time directing and urging his men forward, until he was mortally wounded. Capt. Pitts' conspicuous gallantry, extraordinary heroism, and intrepidity at the cost of his life, above and beyond the call of duty, are in the highest traditions of the U.S. Army and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the Armed Forces of his country". His Medal was posthumously awarded to him and presented to his family on December 10, 1968 by President Lyndon B. Johnson. He was the first African-American United States Army officer to be awarded the Medal of Honor. His name is inscribed on Panel 28E, Line 105 of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC.

Bio by: RPD2


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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Originally Created by: Bill Walker
  • Added: 9 May 2002
  • Find a Grave Memorial 6404095
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/6404095/riley-leroy-pitts : accessed ), memorial page for Riley Leroy Pitts (15 Oct 1937–31 Oct 1967), Find a Grave Memorial ID 6404095, citing Hillcrest Memory Gardens, Spencer, Oklahoma County, Oklahoma, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .