MSGT Robert L. Cover USMC
The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting
The NAVY CROSS to
Master Sergeant Robert L. Crower, United States Marine Corps
For service as set forth in the following
The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to Robert L. Cover (1101469), Master Sergeant, U.S. Marine Corps, for extraordinary heroism while serving with Marine Light Helicopter Observation Squadron TWO (HMO(L)-2), Marine Aircraft Group SIXTEEN, First Marine Aircraft Wing in connection with combat operations against the enemy in the Republic of Vietnam. On 17 March 1969, Master Sergeant Cover, then a Gunnery Sergeant, launched as Aerial Gunner aboard an armed helicopter assigned the mission of supporting a Marine company which was heavily engaged in combat with a large North Vietnamese Army force near An Hoa in Quang Nam Province. Arriving over the designated location, he was informed that the unit on the ground had sustained several casualties and had been pinned down in an open rice paddy by a heavy volume of automatic weapons fire. Throughout the ensuing four-hour period, while his pilot maneuvered the helicopter close to hostile emplacements, Master Sergeant Cover delivered intense machine gun fire at the enemy. Despite his vigorous efforts, the withering fire of the hostile troops still prevented the Marines from recovering their casualties from exposed locations. The pilot of the helicopter subsequently elected to land his craft in the contested area to evacuate the wounded men. During the landing, the aircraft became a vulnerable target for intensified hostile fire. Although Master Sergeant Cover attempted to suppress the enemy fire and to destroy the nearby enemy positions with his machine gun, he observed that the hostile fusillade raking the friendly lines prevented the Marines from reaching the casualties. Quickly dismounting his machine gun and providing his own covering fire, he ran thirty meters across the hazardous terrain to the side of one of the wounded and, assisted by a companion, carried the critically wounded Marine back toward the helicopter. Before he could reach the aircraft, he was seriously wounded by enemy small-arms fire, but steadfastly continued his mission and embarked the casualty. On three additional occasions, the pilot landed to embark casualties and each time, concealing his painful wound from his comrades, Master Sergeant Cover braved the hostile fire to set up his machine gun and provide covering fire for the Marines carrying wounded to the aircraft. His heroic and selfless actions inspired all who observed him and were instrumental in saving the lives of four fellow Marines. By his courage, initiative, and devotion to duty, Master Sergeant Cover upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and of the United States Naval Service.
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