Thursday, March 29, 2012

TFH 3/29: Sergeant First Class Billy D. Evans, USA

US Army Special Forces filled a crucial role during the Vietnam War, that of training and advising our South Vietnamese allies and the indigenous forces standing up against the Viet Cong guerillas. As advisors, they often went into combat along side the native troops, and just as often, led and fought with distinction.

Forty-five years ago, one such Green Beret advisor with the 5th Special Forces Group accompanying a Vietnamese Army unit found themselves cut-off and unable to be reinforced deep in enemy territory. Across three days from March 29-31, 1967 Sergeant First Class Billy D. Evans' courage, leadership, and devotion to duty changed the course of a battle and insured that many would live to fight another day. For his gallantry, he received our Nation's second-highest honor, the Distinguished Service Cross.

From Military Times' Hall of Valor:

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 Sergeant First Class Billy D. Evans (ASN: RA-18268313), 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 Command and Control Detachment (Central), 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), 1st Special Forces. Sergeant First Class Evans distinguished himself by exceptionally valorous actions from 29 to 31 March 1967 while serving as a Special forces advisor to a Vietnamese Army unit on a combat mission deep in hostile territory. Attacked by a numerically superior Viet Cong force during infiltration, part of the force was unable to land because of heavy automatic weapons fire. Sergeant Evans quickly organized the remaining men and led them to a defensive position through a hail of machine gun fire. Throughout the night he disregarded his own safety to direct the fire of his men on repeated enemy probes. Early in the morning a mass assault by the Viet Cong disabled all of the men in his sector. Receiving a severe wound, Sergeant Evans continued to repel the assault single-handedly until reinforcements could be shifted to his position. When a determined attack broke through the perimeter, he refused medical aid and fiercely charged the onrushing insurgents killing several and destroying a machine gun position from which deadly fire was inflicting numerous friendly casualties. His actions inspired his men to greater heights to defeat the enemy and allow exfiltration of the unit. Sergeant First Class Evans' 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.

It appears that Billy Evans passed away on March 31, 2002 at age 62. The 5th Special Forces Group is still active today and satisfies worldwide missions from their home base of Fort Campbell, Kentucky. The 5th Special Forces Group focuses on the US Central Command operational area.

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