Military Order of the Purple Heart

Texas Capital Chapter 1919 Austin, Texas

 

ROBERT E. O’MALLEY

 

ROBERT E. O’MALLEY

Patriot, Chapter 1919

 (USMC, Vietnam) Article February 2000

 

Robert O'Malley, Medal of Honor recipient, was born to Irish immigrants in Queens, New York, and he grew up there in the city; part of a large family with children all coming of age at the time of the war in Vietnam.  Bob was one of four brothers, all Marines, and all four of them served in Vietnam at the same time.  He was a 22 year-old Corporal in Company I, 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marines, 3rd Marine Division in combat near the village of An Cu'ong 2, on August 18, 1965.

 

On that day, after being wounded three times, his performance in action was to be cited for our nation's highest military award. Bob was back home in Queens when the award was approved late the next year.  President Lyndon B. Johnson wanted to make the presentation in Austin, so he sent "Air Force One" to fly the O'Malley family from New York. Bob's parents, both Irish immigrants, had never flown before, and he had a sister that was nine months pregnant at the time – but, none of them intended to miss that trip! The ceremony was held in front of the Federal Building in downtown Austin. LBJ fumbled with the award, joking to O'Malley under his breath, "How do you get this darn thing on?" After a quick lunch and a special performance by the Marine Corps band, it was back aboard Air Force One to New York. Bob's sister made him an Uncle the day after they got home. In the weeks following, there was a parade in his honor through his hometown, Queens. He threw out the first ball at a Yankees game, and had his picture taken with Mickey Mantle. Unusual treatment for a Vietnam veteran, but remember, this was early in the war. Even so, the celebrity treatment gradually subsided.

 

Robert O'Malley's brother-in-law owned property in Texas, near Goldthwaite. Bob visited and liked what he saw, so now he has his own piece of land out in the country, and a house on it; both purchased through the Texas Veterans Land Board.  Every day, outside his home, Robert puts up four flags, the American flag, the Texas flag, the Marine Corps flag, and the POW / MIA. In 2000, Robert affiliated his membership in the Military Order of the Purple Heart with the Texas Capital Chapter 1919.

 

 

The President of the United States

In the name of the Congress takes pleasure in presenting the MEDAL OF HONOR

to Corporal Robert E. O'Malley, United States Marine Corps

 

 

CITATION

(excerpt)

MEDAL OF HONOR

Corporal Robert E. O’Malley, for conspicuous gallantry...in action against Viet Cong forces...while leading his squad in the assault...came under intense small arms fire.  With complete disregard for his personal safety...raced across an open rice paddy to (the enemy) trenches….jumping into the trench, he attacked the Viet Cong with his rifle and grenades, and singly killed eight of the enemy. He then led his squad to the assistance of an adjacent Marine unit which was suffering heavy casualties…reloaded his weapon and fired into the enemy emplacement...personally evacuated several wounded Marines, and again regrouping the remnants of his squad, returned to the point of heaviest fighting…  Ordered to an evacuation point by an officer, Corporal O'Malley gathered his besieged, and badly wounded squad and boldly led them under fire to a helicopter for withdrawal.  Although wounded three times and facing imminent death from a fanatic and determined enemy …refused evacuation and continued to cover his squad ... delivering fire against the enemy from an exposed position until his wounded men were evacuated.  Only then, with his last mission accomplished, did he permit himself to be removed from the battlefield.  By his valor...served as an inspiration to all...and reflected the highest credit upon the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service."

 

 

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