Editor’s note:  This Veterans Day Voice of OC is publishing a series of plaques honoring some of Orange County’s most decorated veterans.  Richard Wandke was born in San Antonio, TX.  He also received two Silver Stars, three Purple Hearts, the Legion of Merit, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, three Air Medals, the Combat Infantry Badge, Airborne Wings and the Ranger Tab.

LTC. Richard D. Wandke, U.S.A.

Citation: Distinguished Service Cross

War: Vietnam War


Lieutenant Colonel Richard D. Wandke, (then Captain), for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations involving conflict with an armed hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam: Captain Wandke distinguished himself by exceptionally valorous actions on 27 May 1969 while commanding his company on the search and destroy mission southwest of landing zone Mary Lou. When one of the rifle squads surprised seven enemy soldiers and opened fire, Captain Wandke immediately deplored the remainder of the unit to assist. Hostile reinforcements meanwhile had arrived in huge numbers and began to place tremendous firepower on the company’s perimeter. Despite the devastating artillery fire directed on the enemy positions, Captain Wandke’s unit sustained heavy casualties. As soon as Captain Wandke rallied his men to force the enemy to break off their assault temporarily, he directed every man who is able to withdraw from the area to establish a landing zone for evacuating the wounded. Although wounded himself, Captain Wandke alone stayed behind to protect the dead and critically wounded. For three horrowing hours he directed artillery fire on hostile encampments and with his individual weapon prevented the enemy for overrunning his position. Captain Wandke’s 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.

Orange County Walk of Honor by AMVETS

More about LTC. Richard D. Wandke:  

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