The President of the United States
in the name of The Congress
takes pleasure in presenting the
Medal of Honor
*COKER, RONALD L.
Rank and organization: Private First
Class, U.S. Marine Corps, Company M, 3d Battalion, 3d Marine Division (Rein), FMF. Place
and date: Quang Tri Province, Republic of Vietnam, 24 March 1969. Entered service
at: Denver, Colo. Born: 9 August 1947, Alliance, Neb.
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the
call of duty while serving as a rifleman with Company M in action against enemy forces.
While serving as point man for the 2d Platoon, Pfc. Coker was leading his patrol when he
encountered 5 enemy soldiers on a narrow jungle trail. Pfc. Coker's squad aggressively
pursued them to a cave. As the squad neared the cave, it came under intense hostile fire,
seriously wounding 1 marine and forcing the others to take cover. Observing the wounded
man lying exposed to continuous enemy fire, Pfc. Coker disregarded his safety and moved
across the fire-swept terrain toward his companion. Although wounded by enemy small-arms
fire, he continued to crawl across the hazardous area and skillfully threw a hand grenade
into the enemy positions, suppressing the hostile fire sufficiently to enable him to reach
the wounded man. As he began to drag his injured comrade toward safety, a grenade landed
on the wounded marine. Unhesitatingly, Pfc. Coker grasped it with both hands and turned
away from his wounded companion, but before he could dispose of the grenade it exploded.
Severely wounded, but undaunted, he refused to abandon his comrade. As he moved toward
friendly lines, 2 more enemy grenades exploded near him, inflicting still further
injuries. Concerned only for the safety of his comrade, Pfc. Coker, with supreme effort
continued to crawl and pull the wounded marine with him. His heroic deeds inspired his
fellow marines to such aggressive action that the enemy fire was suppressed sufficiently
to enable others to reach him and carry him to a relatively safe area where he succumbed
to his extensive wounds. Pfc. Coker's indomitable courage, inspiring initiative and
selfless devotion to duty upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and of the
U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.