First Lieutenant (Infantry), U.S. Army
Troop E, 17th Cavalry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade (Separate),
Date of Action: March 3, 1967


The Distinguished Service Cross is presented to Robert D. Stowell, 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 Troop E, 17th Cavalry, 173d Airborne Brigade (Separate). First Lieutenant Stowell distinguished himself by exceptionally valorous actions on 3 March 1967 while serving as patrol leader during a mission to capture a prisoner deep in War Zone C. When Lieutenant Stowell's unit triggered an attack on two insurgents using a heavily traveled Viet Cong trail, the enemy gathered in increasing numbers, trying to pin down the patrol and surround it. As the hostile presence grew to squad strength with several machine guns, Lieutenant Stowell radioed for gunship support and organized his men for a move to a landing zone. The patrol members were forced to fight their way to the helicopter pickup point. He fearlessly remained behind his men and single-handedly staved off the constant Viet Cong attacks from the area. When he grouped his men into a tight perimeter for the landing zone, the enemy force poured an awesome amount of fire onto them. Lieutenant Stowell appeared contemptuous of the danger, and moved about fearlessly guiding artillery and air strikes in ever-tightening circles around his position. When the evacuation helicopter came in, he again demonstrated his courage and concern for his men by remaining on the ground until all of his men were on board. Although Lieutenant Stowell received serious stomach and chest wounds early in the firefight, his men did not learn of them until they were flying out of the area. First Lieutenant Stowell's extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty 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. 2321 (May 22, 1967)


DSC Awardees