Ralph MitchellStaff Sergeant
ADV TEAM 32 (SD-5892), MACV ADVISORS, MACV
Army of the United States
30 July 1930 - 23 October 1964
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The database page for Ralph Mitchell
Ralph first enlisted in the US Army on July 9, 1951. Six months later he was deployed overseas to Japan and subsequently sent to Korea as a member of the 279th Infantry Regiment, 45th Infantry Division (Thunderbird). He served as a rifleman and fought in two major winter campaigns in the extremely icy cold. He returned stateside in November of 1952 with a set of Corporal stripes, a Combat Infantry Badge and two Bronze Star Medals for valor in combat.
He later married Ms. Ocie Talley of Columbus, Georgia, and the two of them began life as a military family. He became a father in 1955 with the birth of a son (Ralph, Jr) and again in 1962 with the birth of a daughter (Darlene). Peacetime military assignments included two tours to Germany and stateside duty at Fort Benning (Georgia) and Fort Hood (Texas), mostly as an Infantry Platoon Sergeant.
In June of 1964, he received orders for duty in Viet Nam as an advisor assigned to MAC-V (Military Advisory Command, Viet Nam). On October 16, 1964 his detachment was ambushed by a superior number of enemy insurgents. The military vehicle that he was riding in exploded and he suffered numerous cuts as well as the traumatic amputation of his left leg. He managed to ignore what had to have been intense physical pain, organize his men and direct defensive actions. He dispatched a small contingent of men to return with help while he stayed with the bulk of his force and successfully defended against the attack. His force endured several hours of hostile firefighting until reinforcements arrived. Although seriously wounded, SSG Mitchell repeatedly refused medical treatment until all wounded men under his command were treated first. On October 23, 1964 he died at an Army field hospital and his body was shipped stateside for burial in his hometown of Blanch, NC. He posthumously was awarded a star for his Combat Infantry Badge, a Silver Star, his third Bronze Star, the Viet Nam Cross of Gallantry and the Purple Heart.
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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Channing Prothro, former CAP Marine
Last updated 08/10/2009