Stark, Peter M.


US Army

Detachment A-362, Company A, 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), 1st Special Forces

Vietnam War



Distinguished Service Cross

4 January 1968, Republic of Vietnam

For extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations involving conflict with an armed hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam: Sergeant Stark distinguished himself by exceptionally valorous actions on 4 January 1968 as medic of a Special Forces patrol on a combat mission in Tay Ninh Province. Shortly after infiltration into the area of operations, the team located vacated enemy bunkers, huts, and a base camp. The patrol found a storage area showing signs of recent use, and deployed along a trail to ambush Viet Cong elements that might approach it. Three enemy soldiers moved into the trap and one was taken prisoner. Sergeant Stark immediately treated the man for wounds he suffered in the ambush. The team then came under attack from an unknown size enemy force and moved toward a helicopter landing zone for extraction. Sergeant Stark repeatedly halted under the intense enemy fire to administer lifesaving treatment to the prisoner. He and the prisoner were among the first to be loaded aboard the rescue helicopter. As the pilot readied for takeoff, the ship was hit by a devastating barrage of rocket grenades, machine gun and automatic weapons fire. The craft became airborne but crashed thirty meters from the landing zone.

Sergeant Stark had both legs severed by the exploding rocket grenades. Completely disregarding his own painful wounds, he crawled across the crash site to treat a severely injured comrade. When another solider came to his aid, Sergeant Stark directed the man to treat the casualty while applying tourniquets to his own legs. He refused to be pulled out of the line of continuing enemy fire until the other wounded were moved to safety.

Sergeant Stark’s extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.