(First Award)
The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to Martin L. Brandtner (0-80625), Captain, U.S. Marine Corps, for extraordinary heroism while serving as Commanding Officer of Company D, First Battalion, Fifth Marines, FIRST Marine Division (Reinforced), Fleet Marine Force, in connection with operations against the enemy in the Republic of Vietnam. On 3 September 1968, while conducting a reconnaissance in force near the village of Lan Phouc in Quang Nam Province, the lead platoon of Company D became pinned down by intense automatic weapons fire from a large North Vietnamese Army force. As he moved forward to assess the situation, Captain Brandtner was wounded by grenade launcher fire from an enemy soldier standing in a nearby trench. With complete disregard for his own safety, Captain Brandtner boldly exposed himself to the hostile fire and hurling a hand grenade, killed the North Vietnamese soldier. Suddenly, the Marines came under an intense North Vietnamese hand grenade attack, and when one of the lethal objects landed at Captain Brandtner’s feet, he unhesitatingly seized the grenade and threw it back at the enemy. On two more occasions he completely disregarded his own safety to seize hand grenades which were thrown near his position and hurl them toward the hostile force. When another grenade landed in the midst of four nearby Marines, Captain Brandtner fearlessly rushed to their position, picked up the lethal object and hurled it away from his companions. Then, concerned only for the welfare of his fellow Marines, he knocked two of the men to the ground and quickly placed himself on top of them, thereby absorbing the fragments from the exploding grenade in his protective armor and preventing possible death or serious injury to his companions. Realizing the numerical superiority of the enemy, he consolidated his company’s position and skillfully adjusted effective supporting arms fire which caused the hostile force to flee and enabled his Marines to overrun the objective. By his courage, intrepid fighting spirit, and selfless devotion to duty at the risk of his life, Captain Brandtner sustained and enhanced the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and of the United States Naval Service.
Authority: Navy Department Board of Decorations and Medals
Home Town : Minneapolis , Minnesota
Other Award: Navy Cross w/Gold Star ( Vietnam )