Marine Corps History: Col John W. Ripley

Carl | January 28, 2014 

Holding a bomb detonator between his teeth, Colonel John W. Ripley swung across the underside of the Dong Ha Bridge. For three hours, Col Ripley attached the explosives with one hand while gripping the bridge with the other.

When finished, he returned to shore and destroyed the bridge, allowing his unit to hold off several thousand North Vietnamese forces.

His courage and determination at the bridge earned him a Navy Cross and a place in Marine Corps history. Ripley demonstrated extraordinary courage throughout his 35-year career.

By the time he retired, he had also earned the Silver Star, two Legion of Merit awards, two Bronze Stars with Combat “V,” a Purple Heart and the Cross of Gallantry


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