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Staff Sergeant
Gilbert H. Bolton
Class of 2000

Silver Star

Gilbert Bolton

Gilbert Bolton
United States Marines


Staff Sergeant Gilbert Bolton distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action while serving as a Platoon Sergeant with Company M, Third Battalion, Seventh Marines, First Marine Division in connection with operations against insurgent communist (Viet Cong) forces in the Republic of Vietnam. Very early in the morning on 2 November 1967, Staff Sergeant Bolton's platoon, occupying its combat base on Hill 25, came under intense small arms, automatic weapons and mortar fire from a force composed of an estimated 100 Viet Cong soldiers. In the initial moments of the vicious attack, the platoon command post was destroyed by an enemy satchel charge. Escaping from the burning and collapsing command bunker and realizing that the unit's primary radio was inoperable, Staff Sergeant Bolton fearlessly maneuvered through the intense enemy fire to the bunker where the secondary radio was located. Encouraging his men, he then quickly manned the radio and called in and adjusted an artillery illumination mission over the area, which revealed the enemy penetrating the defensive wire. Without hesitation, Staff Sergeant Bolton organized a blocking force and succeeded in stopping the penetration at one point, but failed to drive the enemy back. As the determined Viet Cong continued to surge over the hill, he realized that drastic measures were required to save his platoon. Displaying bold initiative and extraordinary courage, Staff Sergeant Bolton, unable to contact the platoon commander, directed his men into their bunkers and, with exceptional composure, called for six 105mm Variable Timed Fuze fire missions on his own position. After the fire missions were completed and the remaining Viet Cong had been driven from the hill, he rallied his men, directed the recovery of casualties and assisted in reorganizing the platoon's defensive perimeter. His decisive actions and sound judgement were instrumental in repulsing the enemy assault and in preventing additional casualties in his platoon. By his extraordinary courage, superb leadership and selfless devotion to duty at great personal risk, Staff Sergeant Bolton upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and of the United States Naval Service.
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