Ronald Leroy Coker


Ronald Leroy Coker Famous memorial

Alliance, Box Butte County, Nebraska, USA
Death 24 Mar 1969 (aged 21)
Burial Alliance, Box Butte County, Nebraska, USA
Memorial ID 6404101 View Source

Vietnam War Medal of Honor Recipient. He received the award posthumously (presented to his family) from Vice President Spiro T. Agnew at the White House on April 20, 1970, for his actions as a private first class with the 2nd Platoon, Company M, 3rd Battalion, 3rd US Marines, on March 24, 1969, in Quang Tri Province, South Vietnam. He was drafted into the US Marine Corps in April 1968 and following his combat training, he joined a replacement company, Staging Battalion, at Camp Pendleton, California, for transfer to South Vietnam. He was assigned duty as a rifleman and was killed in action during a firefight the following year. He was also awarded the Purple Heart. His Medal of Honor citation reads: "For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a Rifleman with Company M, Third Battalion, Third Marines, Third Marine Division in action against enemy forces in the Republic of Vietnam. On March 24, 1969, while serving as Point Man for the Second Platoon, Private First Class Coker was leading his patrol when he encountered five enemy soldiers on a narrow jungle trail. Reacting instantly, he warned the Marines following him and wounded one of the enemy soldiers with his M16 rifle. When the enemy retreated, Private First Class Coker's squad aggressively pursued them to cave. As the squad neared the cave, it came under intense hostile fire, seriously wounding one Marine and forcing the others to take cover. Observing the wounded man lying exposed to continuous enemy fire, Private First Class Coker disregarded his own safety and moved across the fire-swept terrain toward his companion. Although wounded by enemy small arms fire, he ignored his injury as he resolutely continued to crawl across the hazardous area and then skillfully threw a hand grenade into the enemy positions, suppressing the hostile fire sufficiently to enable him to reach the wounded man. As he began to drag his injured comrade out of the enemy's killing zone, a hostile grenade landed on the wounded Marine. Unhesitatingly, Private First Class Coker grabbed the grenade with both hands and turned away from his wounded companion but, before he could dispose of the grenade it exploded. Severely wounded but undaunted he refused to abandon his comrade. As he moved toward friendly lines, two more enemy grenades exploded near him inflicting still further injuries. Possessed only with the safety of his comrade, Private First Class Coker, with supreme effort, continued to attempt to crawl and pull the wounded Marine with him. His heroic deeds inspired his fellow Marines to such aggressive action that the North Vietnamese fire was suppressed sufficiently to enable others to reach him and carrying him to a relatively safe area where he later succumbed to his extensive wounds. Private First Class Coker's indomitable courage, inspiring initiative and selfless devotion to duty upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country."

Bio by: William Bjornstad

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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Originally Created by: Bill Walker
  • Added: 9 May 2002
  • Find a Grave Memorial ID: 6404101
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Ronald Leroy Coker (9 Aug 1947–24 Mar 1969), Find a Grave Memorial ID 6404101, citing Fairview Cemetery, Alliance, Box Butte County, Nebraska, USA ; Maintained by Find a Grave .