Home of Record: Columbus, Ohio
Date of birth: Wednesday, 11/05/1941
Service: Marine Corps (Regular)
Grade at loss: E4
ID No: 1892012
MOS: 0311 Rifleman
LenSvc: Between 4 and 5 years
Unit: 1ST PLT, C CO, 1ST RECON BN, 1ST MARDIV
Start Tour: Not recorded
Cas Date: Thursday, 06/16/1966
Age at Loss: 24
Remains: Body recovered
Location: Quang Tin, South Vietnam
Type: Hostile, died outright
Reason: Gun or small arms fire - Ground casualty
ON THE WALL Panel 08E Line 054
Jerrald Rich Thompson
A Note from The Virtual Wall
The battle on 16 June 1966 on Hill 488 (Nui Vu) involved a full battalion of North Vietnamese Army regulars assaulting 18 men of the 1st Platoon, C Company, 1st Recon Battalion, led by Staff Sergeant Jimmie Earl Howard. The Recon Marines had established an observation post atop Nui Vu in order to identify and prosecute by remote fire VC/NVA forces operating in the mountains west of Chu Lai.
The operation was sufficiently effective to get the NVA commander's attention and sufficiently dangerous for him to commit a fresh battalion to eradicate the Marines. He failed.
The NVA assault on Hill 488 began in late afternoon and continued through the night. The beleagued Marines were assisted by Marine and Air Force helicopter and fixed wing air support, but it was sheer courage and determination that permitted the Marines to hold until morning. Charlie 1/5 Marines were airlifted onto the reverse slope of Hill 488 and relieved the Recon Marines. Of the 18 men in the Recon Platoon, 6 died and 12 were wounded. Two men of Charlie 1/5 Marines and one each from VMO-2 and VMO-6 (Marine UH-1 squadrons) died. One Medal of Honor (Staff Sergeant Howard), 4 Navy Crosses, and 13 Silver Stars were awarded.
Immediately after the battle, Captain F. J. West, USMCR, interviewed men from Howard's platoon, Charlie 1/5, airmen from the squadrons which supported Howard, and others. In 1967 the History and Museums Division, Headquarters, U. S. Marine Corps, published his account of the fight on Hill 488. Captain West's account of Hill 488.
The President of the United States takes pride in presenting the NAVY CROSS posthumously to
CORPORAL JERRALD R. THOMPSON UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS
for service as set forth in the following
For extraordinary heroism as a squad leader serving with the First Platoon, Company C, First Reconnaissance Battalion, First Marine Division (Reinforced) in the Republic of Vietnam on 16 June 1966. While occupying an observation post at 0100 on Hill 488, Quang Tin Province, deep in enemy controlled territory, the platoon of 18 men was subjected to an intense assault by a North Vietnamese unit estimated at battalion size. Corporal Thompson immediately ordered his squad to withdraw to a predetermined defensive perimeter. Braving a hail of small arms fire, automatic weapons, and mortar fire, the small band of courageous Marines fought their way to the relative safety of the defensive position. In the course of this action, Corporal Thompson was painfully wounded by an enemy hand grenade and was unable to proceed. Armed only with a knife, he engaged the enemy in hand-to-hand combat and killed two before he fell, mortally wounded. By his indomitable spirit in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds he was instrumental in the defense of his platoon's position. Corporal Thompson's courageous action under hostile fire reflected great credit upon himself and the Marine Corps and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life in the cause of freedom.
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