Captain Charles R. Banks – (DSC)

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 Captain (Infantry) Charles J. Banks (ASN: 0-5306603), United States Army, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations involving conflict with an armed hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam, while serving with 221st Aviation Company, 13th Combat Aviation Battalion, 1st Aviation Brigade. Captain Banks distinguished himself by exceptionally valorous actions on 21 December 1966 while serving as platoon leader of a reconnaissance airplane company with which he was conducting a ground briefing assembly at Can Tho Army Air Base. During the meeting, Captain Banks observed a Viet Cong terrorist arise from the tall grass and throw a hand grenade between two nearby 5,000 gallon fuel tanks. Realizing the possibility of the annihilation of his men and equipment, he immediately sounded the alarm and rushed toward the grenade. Completely disregarding his own life, he jumped on the grenade and covered it with his own body. After ascertaining that his men were out of immediate danger, Captain Banks leaped to his feet and hurled the grenade back in the direction of the terrorist. It exploded in the air but failed to ignite the highly vulnerable fuel containers. Unaware of the extent to which the attack was being initiated, Captain Banks quickly secured his rifle and fired into the hostile position, while simultaneously directing his men into a perimeter defense. His courage and aggressiveness were singularly responsible for the preservation of the lives of his men. Captain Banks’ 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.

General Orders: Headquarters, U.S. Army, Vietnam, General Orders No. 3516 (July 12, 1967)

Action Date: 21-Dec-66

Service: Army

Rank: Captain

Company: 221st Aviation Company

Battalion: 13th Combat Aviation Battalion

Regiment: 1st Aviation Brigade

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Monte Caylor