Roy Lee Richardson

First Lieutenant
Army of the United States
25 August 1944 - 09 May 1970
Salt Lake City, Utah
Panel 10W Line 009

101 ABN DIV Army Ranger 502ND INF RGT
Distinguished Service Cross

Combat Infantry

Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Air Medal, Good Conduct, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign


The database page for Roy Lee Richardson

01 Apr 2005

1st Lt Richardson,

You were a special leader and cared deeply about all your men. You were the best. You were so dedicated you laid down your life for your platoon and those severely wounded on May 9th 1970, during an ambush. Your pointman and slack man were down, and you went forward under intense fire to bring them to safety. No man ever can do better than to sacrifice himself for his men. You died a hero's death, and were awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for your actions.

You will never be forgotten by those who served with you in Vietnam.
Thank you and may the Lord forever bless you.

Humbly and Respectfully,
Bill Nelson
2/502nd Infantry, 101st Airborne
Strike Force!

29 Apr 2005

A Vietnam Veteran's Tribute

Soldier, sailor, airman, Coast Guard, Marine,
From all across the land they came, every race, every creed.
As thier fathers and forefathers before them, when their country called they stepped forward.
Albeit at a time when the nation was embroiled in bitter discord,
At the prime of their young lives, they did not shirk from the specter of war.
Caught up in a political maelstrom not of their making,
They were hurled onward to a rendezvous with hardship and strife.
Everyday, ordinary American men.

This monument now stands before us,
Its bold and imposing beauty bespeaks a solemn and silent tribute.
But no structure, no matter how great, truly pays just tribute,
To the honored dead whose names are inscribed there.
To the maimed, the disabled, the emotionally scarred, the missing in acton,
The scar of the Vietnam War will never heal.
To the young lives barely lived, to the young loves hardly loved,
To the what might have been that we will never know,
Dear God, let their hallowed memory forever burn bright.
Let there be meaning and purpose to their death,
For without it, this monument will never be anything more than cold stone and mortar,
An empty symbol without sense or meaning.
Let us Americans everywhere, dedicate us, to giving it meaning and purpose.
Let it mean that never again, will this nation shed its young men and women’s blood in a cause without resolve.
Let it mean that we will devote special care and attention to disabled veterans from all wars.
That we will pay whatever the price, give whatever it takes, to help them ease their burden.

The "why" of Vietnam may never be answered, the sacrifice never vindicated;
But let no one dare question the fiber of the men and women,
Who answered the call of the uncertain trumpet.
They risked and lost life and limb to serve their country.
They are the mark and caliber by which great nations are measured.
Let us never demean those who have carried this country's banner into battle.
They gave to us their very lives and their futures,
We could never hope to repay to them their just due.
May the day never come, when the country calls, and the call goes unheeded.
Let us all now join hands as united Americans,
And as one voice reach out and loudly and proudly proclaim:
"WELCOME HOME - at last together we will heal the wound"
And in a spirit of love and thanksgiving, embrace these,

Don Buzney USMC 1967-71

03 Dec 2006

I was a classmate with Roy in Infantry OCS at Fort Benning. During our six months together I got to know him pretty well. Even at the worst of times when the stress was being applied to 'mold' us into officers Roy's quiet demeanor and human kindness always was a presence amoung the men in the platoon.

Roy was very devout in his religion, in contrast to the majority of us; yet he was a welcome member of any rotten detail or task we were assigned. In the midst of the bitching and moaning, his steadfast refusal to get mad or swear or lose his patientce was amazing. He willingly shouldered his share of the load as well as anyone else's he could carry.

I remember his staying in the barracks during Christmas break as he did not have the money to fly home to Salt Lake for such a short visit. In the most humble way he asked to share my 'illegal' transistor radio with the other fellows staying back, assuming responsibility for its remaining hidden from the cadre.

I heard of his death while I was out in the field as a Platoon Leader in the 173rd, and it stunned me deeply.

Years later I was at Fort Campbell and visited Richardson Hall, the BOQ, named in his honor. I had to leave as tears came to me, seeing his portrait on the wall.

Roy's memory, and that of his kindness and humility have been a part of my memories for many a year now. Sometimes when I feel my ego getting a bit large for the situation I find comfort in wondering what Roy would say.

Thanks, Roy, you will not be forgotten...

From an OCS Classmate,
Mike Rogers

31 Jan 2007

I am Lee's niece, Amy, daughter of his brother LeGrand Richardson. All of my life I have heard stories of my Uncle Lee and what a great man he was. I can't wait to meet him! This article was written about him in the Salt Lake Tribune.

Living History
Quarter-century after his death,
soldier's memory very much alive
Ardis E. Parshall
Salt Lake Tribune

Roy Lee Richardson was the kind of young man any family, state and people would be proud to have as their representative.

Born in Alberta, Canada, Richardson moved with his family to Salt Lake City when he was a child, and graduated from Highland High in 1963. He served an LDS mission to Great Britain, then entered the University of Utah where he was a student athlete and musician. He entered the U.S. Army in 1967, winning honors as outstanding trainee in basic training and as an honor graduate from the Army's Ranger School.

First Lt. Richardson left for Vietnam in January 1970.

Richard J. Ventola, then of the Bronx, N.Y., and now of New Jersey, remembers Richardson was the first Utahn and the first Mormon he had ever encountered when the two officers, both serving with the 101st Airborne Division, met in Vietnam that January.

"He was a very decent person," Ventola recalls. "He seemed very concerned about things. I was impressed by his moorings."

On May 9, less than three months into his tour of duty, Richardson's platoon was ambushed by an enemy force using hand and rocket-propelled grenades. Richardson moved through enemy fire to place his men in defensive positions and to direct defensive aerial artillery.

As the battle continued, Richardson ran through withering small-arms fire to pull one of his critically wounded men to safety, and was mortally wounded himself.

For his "exceptionally valorous actions" and "extraordinary heroism," Richardson was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Service Cross. Only the Medal of Honor is a higher award for valor.

"I was very upset" to learn of Richardson's death the next day, Ventola recalls. "I wrote something about him, and always wanted to deliver it to his family, saying I thought he was a decent guy. There were many things in Vietnam you wanted to forget - knowing Richardson was one of the things I didn't want to forget."

He tried several times in the past few years to find Richardson's family, without success. Ventola's brother-in-law, Hugh Massey, determined that Richardson had been buried in Salt Lake City, and Ventola and his wife, Lynn, decided to visit the grave this past December as they drove cross-country to a family wedding in Sacramento. They found Richardson's grave in the City Cemetery, next to that of his father.

While viewing Salt Lake City from the observation floor of the LDS Church Office Building, Ventola told his story to a hostess, who escorted the Ventolas to the church archives to see if anything more could be learned. Librarian Larry Skidmore helped them locate Richardson's obituary, which listed the names of Richardson's brothers and sisters, and the Ventolas continued their trip to Sacramento.

With the help of the Internet, Ventola was able to contact Legrande W. Richardson of Salt Lake City, a brother to Roy Lee Richardson, and the two men spoke by telephone last week. Legrande, who joined the Navy at the same time his brother entered the Army, was serving aboard a ship in southeast Asia when he received word of Richardson's death.

The two men shared memories of Richardson. Ventola learned from Legrande that a few years after his death, the Army had named an officers' hall at Fort Campbell, Ky., (headquarters of the 101st Airborne) after Richardson, and had flown several members of the family from Utah to Kentucky to witness the dedication.

Legrande also told Ventola that other old comrades had contacted the family through the years, all with similar good memories of Richardson. The family appreciated every phone call, every letter.

Roy Lee Richardson has been gone now much longer than he lived, yet he has not been forgotten by his family, or even by some of those who knew him only briefly. May that thought comfort the families of other Utah servicemen and women who gave their lives too soon.

Rardis E. Parshall ( is a Salt Lake City-based historian.
© Salt Lake Tribune 01/28/2007
Reproduced under 17 USC §107

From his niece.

APO San Francisco

October 14, 1970



1. TC 320. The following AWARD is announced posthumously.

Roy Lee RICHARDSON, First Lieutenant (Infantry)
Company A, 2d Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment

Awarded: Distinguished Service Cross
Date action: May 9, 1970
Theater: Republic of Vietnam
Reason: The Distinguished Service Cross is presented to Roy Lee Richardson, 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 A, 2d Battalion, 502d Infantry, 1st Brigade, 101st Airborne Division. First Lieutenant Richardson distinguished himself by exceptionally valorous actions on 9 May 1970 while leading a platoon in search of suspected enemy positions near an allied fire support base. As the platoon advanced through the area of operations, they were suddenly ambushed by a well-concealed enemy force utilizing hand and rocket-propelled grenades. Lieutenant Richardson immediately began moving through the enemy fire to deploy his men into defensive positions and direct aerial rocket artillery on the hostile force. As the enemy fire intensified, the lieutenant moved forward to rescue a critically wounded comrade. Although under constant enemy attack, Lieutenant Richardson continuously maneuvered through the fusillade to place suppressive fire on the enemy while inspiring his men to sustain their defensive efforts. As the contact continued at an intense level, Lieutenant Richardson was mortally wounded by the hostile fire. First Lieutenant Richardson'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.
Authority: By direction of the President under the provisions of the Act of Congress, approved 9 July 1918.


Chief of Staff

Adjutant General

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
one who served in the same company,
Bill Nelson

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 8 Apr 2005
Last updated 04/01/2007