Sunday, February 15, 2015

Maryland VII

In a small residential park in Gaithersburg, MD is this dignified and somber remembrance of a local man who turned out to be a hero.

William Christman was a second Lieutenant in the Marines and his groups' mission was to take out a bunker complex near the Ashau Valley.

The mission was accomplished but with significant loss. 10 were killed and 61 more were wounded. 105 North Vietnamese Regulars were killed.

For his actions, leadership, and bravery Lt Christman was awarded the Navy Cross

Gaithersburg sacrificed several others of her sons and nearby this memorial is another honoring them all. I will post about that one in the near future.

Here is the text of the citation as shown upon the plaque.

"For extraordinary heroism while serving as a platoon commander with Company A, First Battalion, Ninth Marines, Third Marine Division, in connection with operations against the enemy in the Republic of Vietnam. Early on the afternoon of 22 February 1969, Company A was patrolling north of the Ashau Valley in Quang Tri Province when its lead element was pinned down by intense fire from a large North Vietnamese Army force, well concealed in a heavily fortified bunker complex. Reacting instantly, Second Lieutenant Christman deployed his platoon to the right flank of the lead platoon and skillfully manoeuvered his men forward in a coordinated attack until halted and pinned down by the extremely heavy volume of cross fire from the North Vietnamese emplacements and numerous sniper positions in trees. He directed the fire of his machine guns and light antitank weapons against the North Vietnamese emplacements and mounted such an aggressive assault that his platoon moved through the forward enemy positions. Undaunted by the enemy rounds impacting around him, he fired his light antitank assault weapon, and fearlessly charging across the fire-swept terrain, hurled hand grenades into a hostile emplacement, killing seven North Vietnamese soldiers and silencing their machine guns. Coming under fire from an adjacent bunker, he was mortally wounded while attempting to fire his light antitank assault weapon against the emplacement. With his remaining strength, he resolutely propped himself up on one arm to direct his men in outflanking and destroying the enemy bunker. His heroic actions inspired his men to such aggressive action in a coordinated company attack that 105 North Vietnamese soldiers were killed and a large bunker complex was destroyed. By his courage, bold initiative, and unwavering devotion to duty, Second Lieutenant Christman upheld the highest traditions of the United States Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country."

Christman Park is located on W. Deer Park Road between Brighton Drive and Sunnyside Court. Next time, on the 20th, we will return to Massachusetts, so join me there, as always, at 9:00am

To see more memorials from Maryland, or any other state, click the state name on the left side of this page.

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