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Elliot P. Sydnor , Jr.

Date of birth: 30-Jun-27
Place of Birth: Kentucky, Auburn
Home of record: Fernandia Beach Florida

Elliot Sydnor enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1945, and after completing Submarine School, served aboard the attack submarine U.S.S. Raton (SS-270) with the Atlantic Submarine Fleet out of New London, Connecticut, until his discharge from active duty in 1948. He remained in the Naval Reserve until 1950. He received his commission in the U.S. Army through the Army ROTC program at Western Kentucky State Teachers College in 1952. He served in both the Korean and Vietnam Wars and was inducted into the Ranger Hall of Fame on June 18, 1992.

AWARDS AND CITATIONS

Distinguished Service Cross

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Awarded for actions during the Vietnam War

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 9, 1918 (amended by act of July 25, 1963), takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross to Lieutenant Colonel (Infantry) Elliot P. Sydnor, Jr. (ASN: 0-72656), United States Army, for extraordinary gallantry in action on 21 November 1970. Colonel Sydnor volunteered to command an all-volunteer raiding force organized to conduct a heliborne assault in an heroic attempt to rescue United States personnel being held as prisoners of war at the Son Tay prison in North Vietnam. Colonel Sydnor displayed outstanding leadership and personal courage as he personally directed the assault on the compound and the withdrawal of the entire raiding force. Colonel Sydnor's masterful command and control of the operation under the most hazardous combat conditions was exemplary. His keen mind and alertness to the constantly changing situation enabled him to effectively direct and control the actions of the joint assault force air and ground elements and maneuver them as the situation required. In order to maintain the critical control required over the complex raid operation, Colonel Sydnor unhesitatingly and fearlessly exposed himself time and time again to the enemy's small arms and automatic weapons fire. When the withdrawal began, Colonel Sydnor, with utter disregard for his personal safety, constantly stood fully exposed in the helicopter landing zone in order to direct the withdrawal and insure that not one man was unwittingly left behind. The success of the mission was directly attributed to his dynamic and fearless leadership and to the heroic example he set for his officers and men. The degree of his valorous action was further accentuated by his prior knowledge of the location of the prison compound--eighteen kilometers from the capital city of North Vietnam. Knowing full well the enemy forces were armed with automatic weapons and the target area saturated with enemy installations, high performance aircraft, and anti-aircraft defenses; Colonel Sydnor's premeditated personal risk, extraordinary heroism against an armed hostile force, and extreme devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit on him and the United States Army.

General Orders: Department of the Army, General Orders No. 43 (August 9, 1971)

Action Date: 21-Nov-70

Service: Army

Rank: Lieutenant Colonel

Division: Son Tay Volunteer Task Force

Silver Star

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Awarded for actions during the Vietnam War

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress July 9, 1918 (amended by an act of July 25, 1963), takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star to Lieutenant Colonel (Infantry) Elliot P. Sydnor, Jr. (ASN: 0-72656), United States Army, for gallantry in action in the Republic of Vietnam on 19 April 1968, while serving with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion (Airborne), 327th Infantry Regiment, 101st Air Cavalry Division. Lieutenant Colonel Sydnor distinguished himself while conducting a heliborne combat assault on a landing zone in their assigned area of operation southwest of Hue, Republic of Vietnam. As the lead elements of the battalion began landing, they came under an intense mortar attack from North Vietnamese Army mortar positions. The battalion commander, Lieutenant Colonel Sydnor, who was airborne controlling the combat assault, immediately ordered his command and control ship to land in the midst of the murderous mortar barrage, to allow him to take control of the troops on the ground. With complete disregard for his personal safety and the mortar rounds that were pounding the landing zone, Lieutenant Colonel Sydnor continually moved back and forth across the landing zone to direct the orderly movement of his element as they continued to land. Once all of the elements had moved off the landing zone, Lieutenant Colonel Sydnor supervised the moving of the wounded to a more covered position where he could assist the aidmen in applying life saving first aid, and offer words of encouragement to his men. The sight of their battalion commander with them on the ground was an inspiration to and a steadying influence on the men, and was largely responsible for the successful completion of the combat assault in a situation which could have easily been marred by confusion and indecision. Lieutenant Colonel Sydnor's personal courage and devotion to duty was in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflects great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.

General Orders: Headquarters, 101st Air Cavalry Division, General Orders No. 4424 (August 9, 1968)

Action Date: 19-Apr-68

Service: Army

Rank: Lieutenant Colonel

Company: Headquarters and Headquarters Company

Battalion: 1st Battalion (Airborne)

Regiment: 327th Infantry Regiment

Division: 101st Air Cavalry Division