Published On: March 29th, 2021|440 words|1.5 min read|
On Vietnam War Veterans Day, today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Army Veteran Drew Dennis Dix, a Medal of Honor recipient from the war.
Drew Dennis Dix was born in December 1944 in West Point, New York, and raised in Pueblo, Colorado. Growing up, Dix wanted to become a Green Beret. When he was 17 years old, he approached an Army recruiter and tried to join special forces but could not because he was not 21.
In 1962, Dix enlisted and joined the 82nd Airborne Division located at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. In 1965, he deployed to the Dominican Republic to help restore order during the Dominican Civil War. After he returned to the U.S., he completed special forces training.
In October 1967, Dix deployed to Vietnam. He arrived in Cam Ranh Bay, expecting to take part in combat. Instead, he went to Chau Phu in the Chau Doc province to serve as a special forces advisor for the CIA. Dix also gathered intelligence and trained local Vietnamese citizens to fight the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong soldiers.
Four months later, Dix heard that there was going to be a three-day truce during the Vietnamese New Year. However, he was uneasy because he had different intelligence. On Jan. 31, 1968, as part of the Tet Offensive, two Viet Cong battalions attacked Chau Phu and completely overwhelmed city defenses.
In response, Dix gathered a small force of Vietnamese soldiers and two Navy SEALs. The group first rescued a nurse trapped in her home. Although they saved the nurse, one of the SEALs died from mortar fire. Afterward, the other SEAL returned to his unit. Later that day, Dix led a second rescue mission to save 10 civilians trapped in two different buildings by heavy mortar fire. The next day, Dix led a 20-man force to take back control of the city. He killed 14 Viet Cong soldiers, took 20 prisoners, captured 15 weapons and rescued 14 civilians.
On Jan. 16, 1969, Dix received a Medal of Honor from President Lyndon B. Johnson during a White House ceremony. He also promoted to first lieutenant.
After serving in the Army for 20 years, Dix retired in 1982 with the rank of major.
Do you want to light up the face of a special Veteran? Have you been wondering how to tell your Veteran they are special to you? VA’s #VeteranOfTheDay social media feature is an opportunity to highlight your Veteran and his/her service.