Oscar P. Austin
Rank and Organization: Private First
Class, U.S. Marine Corps, Company E, 2d Battalion, 7th
Marines, 1st Marine Division, (Rein), FMF.
Place and Date:
West of Da Nang, Republic of Vietnam, 23 February 1969.
Entered Service At: Phoenix, Ariz.
Born: 15 January 1948,
Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and
intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of
duty while serving as an assistant machine gunner with
Company E, in connection with operations against enemy
forces. During the early morning hours Pfc. Austin's
observation post was subjected to a fierce ground attack by a
large North Vietnamese Army force supported by a heavy
volume of hand grenades, satchel charges, and small arms fire.
Observing that 1 of his wounded companions had fallen
unconscious in a position dangerously exposed to the hostile
fire, Pfc. Austin unhesitatingly left the relative security of his
fighting hole and, with complete disregard for his safety, raced
across the fire-swept terrain to assist the marine to a covered
location. As he neared the casualty, he observed an enemy
grenade land nearby and, reacting instantly, leaped between the
injured marine and the lethal object, absorbing the effects of its
detonation. As he ignored his painful injuries and turned to
examine the wounded man, he saw a North Vietnamese Army
soldier aiming a weapon at his unconscious companion. With
full knowledge of the probable consequences and thinking only
to protect the marine, Pfc. Austin resolutely threw himself
between the casualty and the hostile soldier, and, in doing, was
mortally wounded. Pfc. Austin's indomitable courage, inspiring
initiative and selfless devotion to duty upheld the highest
traditions of the Marine Corps and the U.S. Naval Service. He
gallantly gave his life for his country.
Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Civilian Personnel Policy.
Black Americans in Defense of Our Nation.
Washington, D.C.: GPO, 1985.
Decker, Sgt. Chet. "As Navy Commissions Its Newest Guided Missile Destroyer, Vietnam
Marine Recalls Its Namesake Saving His Life." (2000). Retrieved September 9, 2003 from
the World Wide Web: https://www.marforlant.usmc.mil/Site/
The USS Oscar Austin DDG-79. Marine Zone (2000). Retrieved September 9, 2003 from the
World Wide Web: http://www.marzone.com/7thMarines/