|Spec. 4 Ardie R. Copas|
Spec. 4 Ardie R. Copas will receive the Medal of Honor
posthumously for his courageous actions while serving as a Machinegunner
in Company C, 1st Battalion (Mechanized), 5th Infantry Regiment, 25th
Infantry Division during combat operations against an armed enemy near
Ph Romeas Hek, Cambodia on May 12, 1970.
Ardie R. Copas was from Fort Pierce, Fla.
He joined the U.S. Army, June 18, 1969.
For extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations
involving conflict with an armed hostile force in the republic of
Vietnam: Spc.4 Ardie R. Copas distinguished himself while serving as a
machine-gunner aboard an armored personnel carrier during operations
near Ph Romeas Hek, Cambodia.
In the early morning hours of May
12, 1970, Copas’ company was suddenly attacked by a large hostile force
firing recoilless rifles, rocket propelled grenades, and automatic
weapons. After Copas began returning fire, his armored car was struck by
an enemy recoilless round, knocking him to the ground and injuring four
American Soldiers beside the vehicle. Ignoring his own wounds, Copas
quickly remounted the burning vehicle and commenced firing his
machine-gun at the belligerents. Braving the hostile fire directed at
him, and the possible detonation of the mortar rounds inside the track,
Copas maintained a heavy volume of suppressive fire on the foe while the
wounded Americans were safely evacuated. Undaunted, he continued to
place devastating volleys of fire upon the adversary until he was
mortally wounded when another enemy round hit his vehicle.
daring action resulted in the safe evacuation of his comrades and
prevented injury or death to fellow Americans. Copas’ extraordinary
heroism and devotion to duty, at the cost of his life, were in keeping
with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great
credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.
addition to the Medal of Honor, Copas received the Distinguished
Service Cross (this award will be upgraded to the Medal of Honor on Mar. 18), Bronze Star Medal with one Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster, Purple Heart,
Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service
Medal with two Bronze Service Stars, Combat Infantryman Badge, Expert
Marksmanship Badge with Auto Rifle Bar, Republic of Vietnam Military
Merit Medal, Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm Device,
Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal with “60” Device, Republic of Vietnam
Gallantry Cross Unit Citation with Palm Device, Republic of Vietnam
Civil Actions Honor Medal Unit Citation, First Class.