John L. Lewis
First Lieutenant Infantry
Company B, 2nd Battalion, 12th Cavalry, 1st Air Cavalry Division (Airmobile)
3 and 4 February 1968
For extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations involving conflict with an armed hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam:
First Lieutenant Lewis distinguished himself by exceptionally valorous actions on 3 and 4 February 1968 as an infantry platoon leader during the campaign to regain control of the city of Hue. During an engagement with strong forward elements of a North Vietnamese Army regiment, his battalion charged across an open area against well entrenched enemy forces concealed in the woodline on the far side. As Lieutenant Lewis’ company neared the woodline, a heavy volume of accurate small arms fire struck the unit and temporarily halted its advance. Lieutenant Lewis quickly organized a squad of volunteers to maneuver against the fortified emplacements. Moving from his covered position, he led the team across open ground. At a slight rise, he deployed his men as a fire support element and continued on alone to a point within hand grenade range of the insurgents’ bunkers. He then began to destroy the positions one by one with grenades and small arms fire. As each bunker was eliminated, the enemy desperately directed more and more fire at him, but he continued his mission until all the bunkers were destroyed. Lieutenant Lewis then began to supervise the medical evacuation of the wounded. As he did so, he observed the litter bearers come under a heavy volume of fire. He secured all available smoke grenades and moved forward to provide covering smoke for the rescue teams. Early the next morning, the enemy regiment received reinforcements and attacked the friendly force’s perimeter. Lieutenant Lewis’ section received the brunt of the assault. Through his outstanding leadership his unit was able to repulse each enemy advance and inflict heavy casualties upon the attackers. The friendly forces then made a tactical withdrawal. Lieutenant Lewis once again organized and led a party of volunteers to retrieve wounded from the bullet-swept forward edge of the battle area. With the cover of a smoke screen he had established, he ran across open ground three times, carrying out wounded and equipment. Lieutenant Lewis’ extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.