Honoring Shields: The Battle of Dong Xoai, Part 2

Today we conclude our two-part exploration of the Battle of Dong Xoai in which we recount the heroic actions of Medal of Honor recipient Construction Mechanic 3rd Class Marvin G. Shields. You can read part one here.

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A destroyed building at the camp in Dong Xoai.

Of the nine-man Seabee Team, 2 men were killed: Shields and Hoover. Seven others suffered injuries. The survivors of the determined stand in the District Headquarters building reported many examples of valor. No member of Seabee Team 1104 distinguished himself more than Shields. Despite shrapnel wounds suffered during the initial mortar attack on the north end of camp, Shields fought effectively in the defense from the west berm, taking advantage of several lulls in the fighting to distribute ammunition to the other defenders.

Wounded a second time during this attack, Shields nevertheless assisted in carrying a more critically wounded man to safety, and then resumed firing at the enemy for four more hours. When the Commander, 1st Lt. Charles Williams asked for a volunteer to accompany him in an attempt to knock out an enemy machine gun emplacement which was endangering the lives of all personnel in the compound because of the accuracy of its fire, Shields unhesitatingly volunteered for this extremely hazardous mission. Proceeding toward their objective with a 3.5- inch rocket launcher, they succeeded in destroying the enemy machine gun emplacement, thus undoubtedly saving the lives of many of their fellow servicemen in the compound. Shields was mortally wounded by hostile fire while returning to his defensive position and died shortly after being evacuated from Dong Xoai on the afternoon of June 10.

Shields Casket Return

Col Xuan of the Republic of Vietnam, presented MS posthumously with the Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm and the Military Merit Medal

Shields was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions during a ceremony held Sept. 13, 1966. His wife, Joan, and daughter, Barbara, accepted the medal presented by President Lyndon B. Johnson. Williams, with whom Shields fought alongside to take out the enemy machine guns, was also awarded the Medal of Honor that day.

Tonight, June 10, Seabee Museum Director Dr. Lara Godbille will host a special presentation on the life of Shields and his actions in Vietnam. The presentation will begin at 6p.m. and will culminate in the unveiling of our new Hall of Fallen Heroes exhibit which will feature a presentation on Marvin Shields, and honor all Seabees who have been killed in action since World War II.

The original Medal of Honor presented to the wife of Marvin Shields which can be seen on display at the Seabee Museum.

The original Medal of Honor presented to the wife of Marvin Shields which can be seen on display at the Seabee Museum.

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