1st LT Joe V. Abernathy
Serving as a platoon leader with B Company, 1st Battalion, 61st Infantry, 1st LT Joe V. Abernathy took part in Operation Rich. On October 25, 1968, during this operation, his platoon was involved in a battalion search and clear mission in enemy held territory of Northern I Corps. When one of the companies, operating in hedgerows and bamboo thickets, encountered a formidable maze of enemy fortifications, the enemy initiated massive attack, pinning the company down. The hard-pressed company was in need of relief, and Lieutenant Abernathy led his platoon in a charge up the steep hill to offer the relief. Three enemy mortar positions were overrun by the Abernathy platoon. Encountering three NVA soldiers in the assault, Lieutenant Abernathy personally shot and killed them at point blank range. Reconsolidating his platoon, Lieutenant Abernathy pressed on. Two hundred meters were covered before severe strafing fire deterred his advance. Performing a quick evaluation, he detected a single well camouflaged battlement from which the salvos erupted. Directing fire of anti-tank weapons on the position, and braving hazardous barrages and sniper fire, Abernathy and two other men assaulted the bunker.
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