COMMANDER
UNITED STATES NAVAL FORCES
VIETNAM

 

The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the SILVER STAR MEDAL to

BOATSWAINMATE SEAMAN JAMES H. AKERS
UNITED STATES NAVY

for service as set forth in the following:

CITATION

"For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action against the Viet Cong  while serving as twin fifty-caliber machine gunner of a Swift Boat (PCF-98) attached to Coastal Squadron ONE in the Mekong Delta, Republic of Vietnam.   On 12 May 1968, Seaman Akers' Swift Boat, in company with PCF-102, pursued an evading enemy waterborne craft into the Bo De River, an area of known and intense enemy activity.   As they closed upon the enemy craft, both Swift Boats came under intense 57 mm recoilless and automatic weapons fire from both densely jungled riverbanks, and PCF-98 was immediately hit by two recoilless rifle and numerous small arms rounds.   While aggressively returning fire at the enemy, Seaman Akers' position was hit by an exploding recoilless rifle round, jamming one of the twin fifty-caliber machine guns, tearing off his right shoulder and inflicting numerous and serious wounds to his stomach, back and legs.   Ignoring the agonizing pain of his wounds, and the continuous loss of blood, Seaman Akers refused to leave his battle station.   He cleared the remaining gun, and directed devastating fire on to the enemy firing positions until an explosion knocked him unconscious to the deck below.    Seaman Akers lead the assault with his superbly accurate fire, permitting the combined firepower of the Swifts to locate and silence the enemy.   Seaman Aker's selfless heroism, bold initiative and extraordinary determination, combined to save his shipmates and his craft from certain destruction.   He was that day a masterful gunner and a heroic figure.   His actions reflected great credit upon himself and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service."

 

For the President

 

E.R. Zumwalt, Jr.
Vice Admiral, U.S. Navy
Commander U.S. Naval Forces, Vietnam

 


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