In one ferocious battle after another, without a moment's rest between the defense of a key bridge and an assault on an enemy-held village, Echo Company had lost almost two-thirds of its Marines. But when another company of Marines radioed in desperate need of help, one relentless leader drove Echo forward again to answer the call: Medal of Honor recipient James E. Livingston.
His tactics were skillful; his leadership fearless. Captain Livingston had been injured twice by grenade fragments in the battle at Dai Do, near the Cua Viet River in Vietnam, but he refused medical treatment and never even slowed down. On May 2nd, 1968, he led charges under heavy fire across rice paddies, into enemy trenches, and through several bunkers, driving back an enemy force of far superior size to rescue the stranded Marines. At last, hit by machine gun fire and unable to walk, Livingston refused evacuation and remained on the front line until the last of the survivors were safe. He received the Medal of Honor at the White House on May 14th, 1970.
Rising to the rank of Major General in 1991, he took command of the newly-formed Marine Forces Reserve in New Orleans, Louisiana. Now retired, Maj. Gen. Livingston continues to lead as a board member of several business and volunteer groups, including the Red Cross, the Boy Scouts, the National World War II Museum, the Medal of Honor Foundation, and has recently testified before Congress on behalf of early intervention for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Rank and organization: Captain, U.S. Marine Corps, Company E, 2d Battalion, 4th Marines, 9th Marine Amphibious Brigade. place and date: Dai Do, Republic of Vietnam, 2 May 1968. Entered service at: McRae, Ga. Born: 12 January 1940, Towns, Telfair County, Ga. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as Commanding Officer, Company E, in action against enemy forces. Company E launched a determined assault on the heavily fortified village of Dai Do, which had been seized by the enemy on the preceding evening isolating a marine company from the remainder of the battalion. Skillfully employing screening agents, Capt. Livingston maneuvered his men to assault positions across 500 meters of dangerous open rice paddy while under intense enemy fire. Ignoring hostile rounds impacting near him, he fearlessly led his men in a savage assault against enemy emplacements within the village. While adjusting supporting arms fire, Capt. Livingston moved to the points of heaviest resistance, shouting words of encouragement to his marines, directing their fire, and spurring the dwindling momentum of the attack on repeated occasions. Although twice painfully wounded by grenade fragments, he refused medical treatment and courageously led his men in the destruction of over 100 mutually supporting bunkers, driving the remaining enemy from their positions, and relieving the pressure on the stranded marine company. As the 2 companies consolidated positions and evacuated casualties, a third company passed through the friendly lines launching an assault on the adjacent village of Dinh To, only to be halted by a furious counterattack of an enemy battalion. Swiftly assessing the situation and disregarding the heavy volume of enemy fire, Capt. Livingston boldly maneuvered the remaining effective men of his company forward, joined forces with the heavily engaged marines, and halted the enemy's counterattack Wounded a third time and unable to walk, he steadfastly remained in the dangerously exposed area, deploying his men to more tenable positions and supervising the evacuation of casualties. Only when assured of the safety of his men did he allow himself to be evacuated. Capt. Livingston's gallant actions uphold the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the U.S. Naval Service.
DVD 2008-03-20: Medal of Honor with Ed Tracy
Add to cart
If you would like to support the free, public programs of the Pritzker Military
Library, please consider becoming a member
or making a donation