First Lieutenant (Infantry), U.S. Army
Company B, 3d Battalion (Airborne), 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade,
Date of Action: May 10, 1968


The Distinguished Service Cross is presented to William C. Sproule, Jr., First Lieutenant (Infantry), U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations involving conflict with an armed hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam, while serving with Company B, 3d Battalion (Airborne), 503d Infantry, 173d Airborne Brigade. First Lieutenant Sproule distinguished himself by exceptionally valorous actions on 10 May 1968 as a platoon leader of an airborne infantry company conducting a combat operation. His platoon made heavy contact with a large North Vietnamese force. During the assault on the enemy, Lieutenant Sproule moved out ahead of his men to fire more accurately on the insurgents and to adjust supporting artillery fire. As he advanced, he was hit in the chest by a burst of enemy automatic rifle fire. Ignoring his wounds, he moved to his point man who had been pinned down during the initial exchange of fire. Lieutenant Sproule provided covering fire for the man as he crawled back to join the rest of the platoon. He then adjusted artillery fire on the North Vietnamese positions, bringing it so close to his own location that he was wounded several times by the shrapnel. An enemy machine gun to his front began placing deadly fire on his platoon, and he attempted to direct the artillery on the emplacement to destroy it. This couldn't be accomplished without moving his platoon back. Rather than risk more casualties to his troops in a withdrawal, Lieutenant Sproule assaulted the position alone. He charged to within five meters of the gun, firing on the enemy the entire way, before he was mortally wounded by a burst of heavy fire from the weapon. First Lieutenant Sproule's extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty, at the cost of his life, were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.

HQ US Army, Vietnam, General Orders No. 3685 (August 1, 1968)

Home Town: Folcroft, Pennsylvania




DSC Awardees