The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to Paul R. Cheatwood (2345578), Corporal [then Lance Corporal], U.S. Marine Corps, for extraordinary heroism while serving as a Mortarman with Company B, First Battalion, Fifth Marines, FIRST Marine Division (Reinforced), Fleet Marine Force, in connection with operations against the enemy in the Republic of Vietnam. On the morning of 16 February 1968 , Corporal Cheatwood’s company was attacking North Vietnamese Army forces occupying the city of Hue . Crossing an open area toward a building, the Marines suddenly came under enemy sniper fire, killing one man, wounding four others and pinning down the platoon. Realizing the seriousness of the situation, Corporal Cheatwood unhesitatingly exposed himself to the hostile fire as he assumed a kneeling position and skillfully delivered suppressive fire at the enemy emplacement, enabling a Corpsman to move to the assistance of the casualties. After assisting the Corpsman in providing first aid for two casualties, his unit was again pinned down by automatic weapons fire. Reacting instantly, he rapidly directed a heavy volume of rifle fire at the hostile position and, crawling forward, assisted a wounded Marine. When the Corpsman arrived, Corporal Cheatwood maneuvered toward the sniper’s position and hurled several hand grenades into the building, killing two North Vietnamese soldiers. Subsequently volunteering to lead a search for an enemy machine gun that had been firing at his company, Corporal Cheatwood became separated from his men as he moved through a building. Electing to continue his mission, he alertly observed eight enemy soldiers in a nearby structure. Reacting instantly, he threw numerous hand grenades and fired his pistol into the building. Although painfully wounded, he inflicted numerous casualties on the enemy soldiers and forced the remainder to flee in panic and confusion. His bold initiative and outstanding professionalism were an inspiration to all who observed him and contributed significantly to the accomplishment of his unit’s mission. By his exceptional courage, aggressive fighting spirit and selfless devotion to duty in the face of great personal danger, Corporal Cheatwood upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.
Authority: Navy Department Board of Decorations and Medals
Home Town : Tallapoosa , Georgia