Engineer CastleHistorical Vignette 004

Private First Class Philip George

A D7E open cab bulldozer like the one operated by Private First Class Philip Alan George

A D7E open cab bulldozer like the one operated by Private First Class Philip Alan George

Lieutenant Colonel Castro shakes hands with Private First Class George, after presenting the Silver Star Medal.

Lieutenant Colonel Castro shakes hands with Private First Class George, after presenting the Silver Star Medal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In early August 1967, Bravo Company, 39th Engineer Battalion, was tasked with opening a five mile stretch of Robeitson Road connecting QL1 to the Chu Lai ferry. The “road,” which was a Viet Cong stronghold, had been closed since 1954 and resembled an overgrown path.

On 11 August, the First Platoon opened half the road before being ambushed. The ensuing battle took the lives of two Engineers and wounded three more. The next day Captain Wenners sent his entire company to open the road. With the road almost complete, the Engineers came under heavy sniper fire and scrambled for cover. When the drivers attempted to move their vehicles, snipers resumed the deadly fire. It became apparent that if the road was not completed and the convoy moved, the enemy would surely mount and an all-out attack after dark. Private First Class Philip Alan George volunteered to open the road with his bulldozer. As sniper rounds ricocheted off his bulldozer, George remained at the controls of his machine and finished the road.

When the Engineer convoy started moving, the third truck was hit by enemy fire and became disabled, blocking the road. It could not be moved and blocked the escape of all the vehicles behind it. The snipers began to concentrate their fire on the vehicles behind the disabled truck. George, who by this time had reached a secure area about a mile down the road, unhesitatingly turned his bulldozer around and drove to the disabled truck. The enemy directed their fire at George in the unprotected bulldozer. Private George hooked onto the vehicle and pulled it through rice paddies, still under enemy fire. His actions allowed the trapped convoy to advance to safety.

Private George displayed honor during the battle by living up to all the Army Values. For his heroism, Private George was awarded the Silver Star Medal and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry.

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