Eugene Ashley, Jr.
Rank and Organization: Sergeant
First Class, U.S. Army, Company C, 5th Special Forces
Group (Airborne), 1st Special Forces.
Place and Date: Near
Lang Vei, Republic of Vietnam, 6th and 7th February 1968.
Entered Service At: New York, N.Y. Born: 12 October 1931,
Sfc. Ashley, distinguished himself
by conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity while serving with
Detachment A-101, Company C. Sfc. Ashley was the senior
special forces Advisor of a hastily organized assault force
whose mission was to rescue entrapped U.S. special forces
advisors at Camp Lang Vei. During the initial attack on the
special forces camp by North Vietnamese army forces, Sfc.
Ashley supported the camp with high explosive and illumination
mortar rounds. When communications were lost with the main
camp, he assumed the additional responsibility of directing air
strikes and artillery support. Sfc. Ashley organized and
equipped a small assault force composed of local friendly
personnel. During the ensuing battle, Sfc. Ashley led a total of 5
vigorous assaults against the enemy, continuously exposing
himself to a voluminous hail of enemy grenades, machinegun
and automatic weapons fire. Throughout these assaults, he was
plagued by numerous booby-trapped satchel charges in all
bunkers on his avenue of approach. During his fifth and final
assault, he adjusted air strikes nearly on top of his assault
element, forcing the enemy to withdraw and resulting in friendly
control of the summit of the hill. While exposing himself to
intense enemy fire, he was seriously wounded by machinegun
fire but continued his mission without regard for his personal
safety. After the fifth assault he lost consciousness and was
carried from the summit by his comrades only to suffer a fatal
wound when an enemy artillery round landed in the area. Sfc.
Ashley displayed extraordinary heroism in risking his life in an
attempt to save the lives of his entrapped comrades and
commanding officer. His total disregard for his personal safety
while exposed to enemy observation and automatic weapons
fire was an inspiration to all men committed to the assault. The
resolute valor with which he led 5 gallant charges placed critical
diversionary pressure on the attacking enemy and his valiant
efforts carved a channel in the overpowering enemy forces and
weapons positions through which the survivors of Camp Lang
Vei eventually escaped to freedom. Sfc. Ashley's bravery at the
cost of his life was in the highest traditions of the military
service, and reflects great credit upon himself, his unit, and the
Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Civilian Personnel Policy.
Black Americans in Defense of Our Nation.
Washington, D.C.: GPO, 1985.