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Jon Robert Cavaiani

Date of birth: August 2, 1943
Date of death: July 29, 2014
Place of Birth: England, Royston
Home of record: Fresno California
Status: POW

Jon Cavaiani, a member of U.S. Army Special Forces, was interned as a Prisoner of War in Southeast Asia after he was captured in South Vietnam on June 5, 1971, and was held until his release on March 27, 1973.

AWARDS AND CITATIONS

Medal of Honor

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Awarded for actions during the Vietnam War

The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pleasure in presenting the Medal of Honor to Staff Sergeant Jon Robert Cavaiani, United States Army, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty in action in the Republic of Vietnam on 4 and 5 June 1971 while serving as a platoon leader to a security platoon providing security for an isolated radio relay site located within enemy-held territory on Hill 1050, Khe Sanh Airfield. On the morning of 4 June 1971, the entire camp came under an intense barrage of enemy small arms, automatic weapons, rocket-propelled grenade and mortar fire from a superior size enemy force. Staff Sergeant Cavaiani acted with complete disregard for his personal safety as he repeatedly exposed himself to heavy enemy fire in order to move about the camp's perimeter directing the platoon's fire and rallying the platoon in a desperate fight for survival. Staff Sergeant Cavaiani also returned heavy suppressive fire upon the assaulting enemy force during this period with a variety of weapons. When the entire platoon was to be evacuated, Staff Sergeant Cavaiani unhesitatingly volunteered to remain on the ground and direct the helicopters into the landing zone. Staff Sergeant Cavaiani was able to direct the first three helicopters in evacuating a major portion of the platoon. Due to intense increase in enemy fire, Staff Sergeant Cavaiani was forced to remain at the camp overnight where he calmly directed the remaining platoon members in strengthening their defenses. On the morning of 5 June, a heavy ground fog restricted visibility. The superior size enemy force launched a major ground attack in an attempt to completely annihilate the remaining small force. The enemy force advanced in two ranks, first firing a heavy volume of small arms automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenade fire while the second rank continuously threw a steady barrage of hand grenades at the beleaguered force. Staff Sergeant Cavaiani returned a heavy barrage of small arms and hand grenade fire on the assaulting enemy force but was unable to slow them down. He ordered the remaining platoon members to attempt to escape while he provided them with cover fire. With one last courageous exertion, Staff Sergeant Cavaiani recovered a machinegun, stood up, completely exposing himself to the heavy enemy fire directed at him, and began firing the machinegun in a sweeping motion along the two ranks of advancing enemy soldiers. Through Staff Sergeant Cavaiani's valiant efforts with complete disregard for his safety, the majority of the remaining platoon members were able to escape. While inflicting severe losses on the advancing enemy force, Staff Sergeant Cavaiani was wounded numerous times. Staff Sergeant Cavaiani's conspicuous gallantry, extraordinary heroism and intrepidity at the risk of his life, above and beyond the call of duty, were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Army.

General Orders: Department of the Army, General Orders No. 2 (January 3, 1975)

Action Date: June 04 & 5, 1971

Service: Army

Rank: Staff Sergeant

Division: Vietnam Training Advisory Group

Prisoner of War Medal

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Awarded for actions during the Vietnam War

Staff Sergeant Jon Robert Cavaiani, United States Army, was held as a Prisoner of War in Southeast Asia from June 5, 1971 until his release on March 27, 1973.

Action Date: June 5, 1971 - March 27, 1973

Service: Army

Rank: Staff Sergeant

Division: Prisoner of War (South Vietnam)