SOG’s First Medal of Honor.
On the 7th of February 1967 a B-52 Arc Light strike had just finished hitting a major enemy controlled are in Laos. Some one in MACV had thought up the idea of the Bomb Damage Assessment. That is, putting troops right on top of the freshly hit target to see what damage was done and to determine how successful it had been. A 40 man SOG hatchet force platoon of Montagnards with US green Berets leading it were brought in by helicopters and dropped right on top of the target area covered with fresh bomb craters. One of those Green Berets was George “Ken” Sisler.
Minutes after unloading , the platoon was hit with a mass assault of more than 100 PAVN troops angry and ready for revenge after having 500 pounds bombs dropped on them. The platoon was hit so hard they were almost overrun. After the initial firrece fight the NVA fell back to regroup for another attack.
“While the NVA force momentarily fell back to regroup, Lieutenant Sisler realized that two of his yards had been wounded and left behind. Racing back alone into the jungle,Sisler picked up one man and was running with him when the NVA launched a second assault,headed directly toward him. Sisler laid down the ‘yard, pulled a grenade, attacked a machinegun- destoying it- and then killed three more enemy assailants trying to slip into the platoon perimeter.”
“He went back after the4 second Yard and just got him out when another NVA line attacked, and, all alone, Sisler counter attacked, firing his CAR-15, throwing grenades and using the experimental Gyrojet rocket pistol “
By then all of his team mates had been killed or wounded. Sisler had almost at back the NVA alone. In the meantime another SOG Green Beret, Sergeant First Class Leonard Tilley had organized the rest of the men called in A-1 Skyraiders for support bringing their fire and bombs within 50 feet of their position. Even with the NVA unbalanced for the moment there was no way to bring in choppers to pick them men up before they were overrun. Tilley’s skill at directing airstrikes finally force the NVA back long enough for SOG helicopters to swoop in with gunships to pick up the men. “ we were crawling toward the LZ. How we got to the LZ, I don’t know”
Under fire George Sisler stood up to direct the gunships when a single sniper round instantly killed him.
One year later Sisler’s widow and his two sons traveled to Washington D.C. to accept his posthumous Medal Of Honor. Sfc. Leonard Tilley was awarded the DSC for his actions that day bringing the survivors out thanks to his expertly guided air strikes and actions fighting the NVA. Twice charging into the enemy alone to bring two wounded men out . Once charging directly into the enemy with such violence that they fell back.
Below is the citation, keep in mind locations and actual mission was changed to not give away top secret cross border operations and the actual unit Sisler belonged to and his real job in SOG. Very common for all citations for SOG Green Berets at the time.
” For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life and above and beyond the call of duty. 1st Lt. Sisler was the platoon leader/adviser to a Special United States/Vietnam exploitation force. While on patrol deep within enemy dominated territory, 1st Lt. Sisler’s platoon was attacked from 3 sides by a company sized enemy force. 1st Lt. Sisler quickly rallied his men, deployed them to a better defensive position, called for air strikes, and moved among his men to encourage and direct their efforts. Learning that 2 men had been wounded and were unable to pull back to the perimeter, 1st Lt. Sisler charged from the position through intense enemy fire to assist them. He reached the men and began carrying 1 of them back to the perimeter, when he was taken under more intensive weapons fire by the enemy. Laying down his wounded comrade, he killed 3 onrushing enemy soldiers by firing his rifle and silenced the enemy machinegun with a grenade. As he returned the wounded man to the perimeter, the left flank of the position came under extremely heavy attack by the superior enemy force and several additional men of his platoon were quickly wounded. Realizing the need for instant action to prevent his position from being overrun, 1st Lt. Sisler picked up some grenades and charged single-handedly into the enemy onslaught, firing his weapon and throwing grenades. This singularly heroic action broke up the vicious assault and forced the enemy to begin withdrawing. Despite the continuing enemy fire, 1st Lt. Sisler was moving about the battlefield directing force and several additional men of his platoon were quickly wounded. His extraordinary leadership, infinite courage, and selfless concern for his men saved the lives of a number of his comrades. His actions reflect great credit upon himself and uphold the highest traditions of the military service.”