First Lieutenant Steven Cole Drake
First Lieutenant Steven Cole Drake was commissioned an Infantry Officer upon graduation from Infantry Officer Candidate School Class 17-66, 03 November 1966. He was Killed in Action as Platoon Leader, 3rd Platoon, Company C, 2nd Battalion, 1st Infantry, 196th Infantry Brigade, American Division.
CITATION: First Lieutenant Steven C. Drake distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism and was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for his actions while leading the 3d Platoon, Company C, 2d Battalion, 1st Infantry, against a vastly superior enemy force near Hiep Duc, Republic of Vietnam, 5 and 6 January 1968. On the morning of 5 January 1968, his platoon became engaged in heavy combat with a numerically superior North Vietnamese Army force. Lieutenant Drake immediately organized a five-man fire team and courageously maneuvered this element into a supporting position near an enemy fortification. With complete and utter disregard for his own life, he left the cover of the base of fire, fearlessly charged the enemy fortified bunker, and destroyed an enemy machine gun and its crew. This daring action enabled his company to drive off the enemy. Late in the evening of the same day, the enemy launched a savage attack with overwhelming force. The first round fired by the enemy seriously wounded the company commander, who was evacuated immediately. Lieutenant Drake assumed command and inspired his men to repel the enemy's attack. The enemy, positioned on three sides of the company, began a murderous crossfire. Although disaster seemed imminent, Lieutenant Drake calmly and adeptly led his men through the withering fire to more defensible terrain. Realizing that his company was becoming dispersed, Lieutenant Drake courageously exposed himself to the intense enemy fire to consolidate his company. At this time he was severely wounded; nevertheless, he valiantly continued to move through the bullet-swept area and succeeded in re-establishing the company defensive perimeter. He organized and directed his company in repelling four human wave assaults on his position. Fearlessly he exposed himself to fire time and time again to direct the fire of his men. In order that gunships and artillery could locate his perimeter, Lieutenant Drake shot hand flares 10 feet in front of his position. At 0100 hours on the following morning, the infuriated enemy launched another savage mortar attack and again seriously wounded Lieutenant Drake. Unable to move from his position, he continued his relentless efforts to halt the enemy horde. In spite of the heroic defense of the perimeter, the overwhelming strength of the enemy permitted a few insurgents to maneuver within hand grenade range. A volley of hand grenades was thrown into the company's position. Thinking only of the safety of his men, Lieutenant Drake lunged for the threatening grenade and attempted to throw it out. The resultant explosion mortally wounded Lieutenant Drake. His heroic action saved the lives of all others in the area. Through his indomitable courage, complete disregard for his own safety, and profound concern for his fellow soldiers, Lieutenant Drake prevented additional casualties and inspired his men to successfully engage and repel the enemy.
Lieutenant Drake's military awards and decorations include: Distinguished Service Cross, Purple Heart, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Ribbon, Combat Infantryman Badge, and the Parachutist Badge.