GREEN BERETS Powell, Thomas E.

John Robertson

Staff member
Thomas E.
  • UNIT
7 SF Group (Company D)
  • RANK
Staff Sergeant
Distinguished Service Cross
North Vietnam 1970 (Son Tay)


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 pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross to Staff Sergeant Thomas E. Powell, United States Army, for exceptional heroism in the Republic of Vietnam. Staff Sergeant Powell distinguished himself by gallantry in action on 21 November 1970. Disregarding the high degree of personal risk involved, Sergeant Powell volunteered to participate in a heliborne assault on the Son Tay prison in North Vietnam in an heroic attempt to rescue United States military personnel being held there as prisoners of war. On insertion into the target area, Sergeant Powell completely disregarded his personal safety and exposed himself to automatic weapons fire in order to provide effective supporting machine gun fire for his element. When his fire was masked by friendly troops, he again unhesitatingly braved automatic weapons fire to locate a position from which he could bring withering fire upon the enemy. Sergeant Powell's professionalism, personal courage, and devotion to his fellow team members contributed significantly to the success of the mission. Sergeant Powell's premeditated personal risk, extraordinary heroism in combat, and extreme devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit on him and the United States Army.

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