SEALS Woolard, Richard Patrick

John Robertson

Staff member
Richard Patrick
  • UNIT
U.S.N. Seal Team 2
  • RANK
Lieutenant Junior Grade
Silver Star
South Vietnam 1968
Captain Woolard began his Navy career as an ensign in 1966. Following graduation from underwater demolition training he served as a platoon commander with Underwater Demolition Team 21 where he conducted his first deployment to the Caribbean. Upon graduation from U.S. Army Ranger School in 1968, Captain Woolard was assigned as a platoon commander with SEAL Team Two. From 1968 to 1970 he made two deployments to the Republic of Vietnam where he led over 145 combat missions. For his courageous and distinguished actions he received the Silver Star and three Bronze Star medals. While Captain Woolard was repeatedly recognized for his courageous leadership and success in inflicting numerous casualties upon enemy forces, he was also recognized for his humanity. During an operation in April 1970, while taking incoming enemy rocket fire, he acted with complete disregard for his own safety, plunging into the waters of the Song Ong Doc River to rescue Vietnamese civilians caught in the crossfire of a Viet Cong ambush of his platoon. His actions saved the lives of three women and children.
After his second deployment to Vietnam, Captain Woolard served as the training officer at the Naval Amphibious School, Little Creek, passing on his combat knowledge to underwater demolition/SEAL trainees. Following a tour with the Bureau of Naval Personnel in Washington, DC Captain Woolard was assigned as an exchange officer with the Special Boat Service Royal Marines. His accomplishments while assigned there are recounted by members of this elite unit to this day. Upon his return to the United States in 1977, Captain Woolard served as the executive officer of Underwater Demolition Team 21. He then completed the Command and Staff Course at the Naval War College in 1979 and served in a Naval Special Warfare staff assignment. From 1982 to 1984 Captain Woolard commanded SEAL Team Two.
Following an assignment with U.S. Forces Caribbean, Captain Woolard embarked on three more command tours. In 1987, he commanded the Navy's antiterrorist security coordination team. He then commanded SEAL Team Six, the premier combat unit within Naval Special Warfare, followed by command of the Naval Special Warfare Development Group. In 1990 Captain Woolard became the Director for Combatting Terrorism, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflict where he was recognized for his strategic vision in the formulation of counter terrorism policy.
married Sandra (2 children)
R.T.P. Woolard in some sources


Silver Star : The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star to Lieutenant, Junior Grade Richard Patrick Woolard (NSN: 0-705057/1130), United States Navy, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action as a member of Sea-Air-Land Team Two (SEAL-2), while serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in armed conflict with the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong Communist aggressors in the Republic of Vietnam on the night of 10 to 11 May 1968. Lieutenant, Junior Grade, Woolard was serving as Platoon Commander for the THIRD Platoon, SEAL Team Detachment ALFA. As patrol leader he led his SEAL Platoon deep into a Viet Cong battalion-sized base and re-supply area. After patrolling 2,000 meters through swamps and open fields he set an ambush on a road leading into a Viet Cong hamlet and made contact with a numerically superior enemy force. His platoon was in a vulnerable position but he completely disregarded his own safety and exposed himself to the enemy by taking them under fire. He came under heavy automatic weapons fire and was wounded in the arm and leg, however, he resumed his position and joined his men in firing on the fleeing Viet Cong, killing one Viet Cong and dispersing their initial advance. He refused medical evacuation to remain with his platoon which was pinned down by heavy fire from two positions and skillfully directed helicopter gun ship attacks on enemy positions, checked ammunition and boosted morale. Through his courage and leadership his platoon maintained their position for two hours until extracted without sustaining any further casualties. Lieutenant, Junior Grade, Woolard's aggressive spirit, professionalism and dedication to duty, although wounded and under heavy enemy fire, were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

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