The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the
BRONZE STAR MEDAL to
PRIVATE FIRST CLASS WILLIAM H. PRIETO
UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS
For service as set forth in the following
"For heroic achievement in connection with combat operations against the enemy while serving as Machine Gun Team Leader, 3d Platoon, Company H, 2d Battalion, 1st Marines, 1st Marine Division, Quang Nam Province, vietnam on 15 January 1969. While participating in a cordon operation around the village of Cam Sa (1), the machine gun team under the charge of Private First Class Prieto moved in under the cover of darkness with other elements of Companies G and H to surround the village. As dawn approached and other battalion elements began a sweep inside the cordon, North vietnamese Army and viet Cong troops realized that they were trapped and began random breakout attempts. During one of these breakout attempts, the Platoon's other machine gun jammed. The enemy quickly identified the weakness in the cordon and attacked. While attempts were made to clear the jammed machine, one of the Marines was mortally wounded while exposing himself to distract the enemy. Private First Class Prieto assessed the new danger to the integrity of the cordon and directed members of the machine gun team to cover the vulnerable Marines attempting to aid the dying Marine. He personally accounted for three of the six enemy soldiers killed while trying to escape the cordon through the disabled machine gun position. Because of his alertness and initiative, he contributed significantly to the success of the overall mission and prevented further casualties. Private First Class Prieto's courageous actions, initiative, and total devotion to duty reflected great credit upon himself and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the united States Naval Service."
The Combat Distinguishing Device is authorized.
FOR THE PRESIDENT