101 airborne combat patch
David W. Reiss
Company Commander
22 February 1968
CPT David W. Reiss was awarded the Silver Star Medal for gallantry in action in the Republic of
Vietnam on 22 February 1968. Captain Reiss distinguished himself while commanding Company
A, 2d Battalion, 501st Infantry during and assault on a heavily fortified enemy position three
kilometers west of Hue, Republic of Vietnam. The enemy position consisted of well fortified
bunker complex, linked by an intricate trench system, and manned by an estimated North
Vietnamese Company. The approach routes to the position, which skirted a small village, were
very poor and as a result the attack had to be made over a route which afforded very little cover.
The assault began in conjunction with Bravo Company, Company A on Bravo’s right, and from
the outset Captain Reiss positioned himself in an open rice paddy in order to better control his
own company and from where he could better observe the enemy. He gave no indication that he
was even aware of, much less concerned about, the intense enemy fire streaming into the paddy
in the form of machine gun, automatic rifle, and small arms fire as well as rocket propelled
grenades which continually slammed into the area. The volume of fire steadily increased and the
rockets became incessant rather than frequent. Still Captain Reiss’ only concern was directing his
company and destroying the enemy as he himself remained dangerously exposed all the while. At
one point a platoon was pinned down by murderous fire, so that is where Captain Reiss went,
ignoring the extreme danger as he shifted men and weapons bringing devastating firepower of his
own on the enemy, and all the while inspiring his men by courageous presence in the bullet-swept
zone. This inspiration was the spark necessary to build up the momentum of the platoon and the
entire attack as it got rolling and swept over the enemy positions, thus enabling the company to
complete its mission. The final assault which carried the enemy position may well not have been
possible were it not for Captain Reiss’ forceful and inspiring leadership. Captain Reiss’ gallantry in
keeping with the highest traditions of the military service, and reflects great credit upon himself,
his unit, and the United States Army.
Information provided by Ryan P. Niebuhr CW2, AD
2nd Brigade Historian
101st Airborne Division