GREEN BERETS Plato, Robert Dean

John Robertson

Staff member
Robert Dean
  • UNIT
5 SF Group (MACV-SOG-CCN) (FOB 1) (Hatchet Force)
  • RANK
Master Sergeant
Distinguished Service Cross, Bronze Star
South Vietnam 1968
KIA - see Roll of Honour



Distinguished Service Cross : The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 9, 1918 (amended by act of July 25, 1963), takes pride in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross (Posthumously) to Master Sergeant Robert Dean Plato (ASN: RA-54140742), United States Army, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations involving conflict with an armed hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam, while serving with Command and Control (North), FOB 1 (Phu Bai), 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), 1st Special Forces. Master Sergeant Plato distinguished himself by exceptionally valorous actions on 20 May 1968, as the leader of a Vietnamese platoon on a reconnaissance-in-force patrol. His unit had become surrounded by a numerically superior enemy force which began closing on one squad that was isolated from the rest of the platoon. Exposing himself to enemy fire, Sergeant Plato joined the squad, rallied its members and directed their counterfire against the insurgents. As the fight grew more intense, the enemy received reinforcements, and Sergeant Plato realized that his men would not be able to hold their ground much longer. Ordering the squad to join the main force's perimeter, he remained behind and placed devastating fire on the insurgents to cover the withdrawal. As he began his own maneuver toward the perimeter, he discovered that not everyone had returned. Disregarding his own safety, he ran back to his former position, saw three missing men, and made his way to them. Only one was still alive. Sergeant Plato held off the assaulting enemy long enough for the man to reach the safety of the perimeter. Realizing it was too late to return there himself, he chose to hold his ground as long as possible. He fought the enemy with deadly fury until his position was overrun and he was killed. His gallant stand diverted the insurgents' attention from the main perimeter and totally disrupted their assault. Master Sergeant Plato's extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty, at the cost of his life, were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit and the United States Army.
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