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The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the BRONZE STAR MEDAL to LIEUTENANT (JUNIOR GRADE) HERBERT M. RUTH UNITED STATES NAVY for service set forth in the following, CITATION - For meritorious service in connection with combat operations against the enemy in the Republic of Vietnam while serving as Assistant Platoon Commander in SEAL Team TWO, Detachment Alfa, Ninth Platoon from June 1969 to December 1969.  During this period, Lieutenant (jg) [then Chief Warrant Officer] RUTH participated in over 60 SEAL patrols, ambushes, raids, reconnaissance missions, and other clandestine combat support operations in the Mekong Delta.  The majority of these operations were conducted in areas heavily controlled by the Viet Cong and in the vicinity of their base camps, supply points, and communications routes.  Through his bold courage, aggressiveness, professionalism, and selfless devotion to duty, Lieutenant (jg) RUTH contributed significantly to the success of every SEAL mission in which he participated; thereby reflecting great credit upon himself and upholding the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service. 

Combat Distinguishing Device is authorized.

For the President, J. William Middendorf, Secretary of the Navy.

The Secretary of the Navy takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Commendation Medal to Lieutenant (Junior Grade) Herbert M. Ruth United States Navy for service as set forth in the following CITATION - For heroic achievement against the enemy on 19 August 1969 in Long An Province, Republic of Vietnam while serving with SEAL Team TWO Detachment "A."  Lieutenant (jg) [then Chief Warrant Officer] Ruth was Assistant Patrol Leader on a combined SEAL combat patrol whose mission was to penetrate a Viet Cong conference.  Splitting into two fire teams, one team with the patrol leader took the Viet Cong arriving at the conference area under fire and received automatic weapons fire from nearby Nippa Palm.  Lieutenant (jg) Ruth immediately brought his platoon to the area and, by exposing himself to enemy fire, dispersed his men to positions in an attempt to suppress the enemy fire directed towards the other team.  This being unsuccessful, he then rallied his squad, moved toward the enemy source of fire, and silenced it with barrage of fire.  Requesting helicopter gunships and air support, he continued to direct the SEAL's and Vietnamese forces until they could be evacuated.  Lieutenant (jg) Ruth's inspiring leadership, courageous actions, and selfless devotion to duty reflected credit upon himself and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

Combat Distinguishing Device is authorized.

J. William Middendorf, Secretary of the Navy

The Commander in Chief United States Pacific Fleet takes pleasure in commending Herbert M. Ruth Chief Engineman United States Navy for service as set forth in the following:

CITATION - "For heroic achievement during Operation JACKSTAY, in support of Naval Special Warfare Operations from 26 March to 6 April 1966.  While attached to Underwater Demolition Team ELEVEN and serving with UDT ELEVEN WEST PAC DET CHARLIE embarked in USS WEISS (APD 135), Chief Ruth was assigned to Commander Reconnaissance and Surveillance Element (CTE for the purpose of conducting surveillance, ambush, demolition's, and small boat operations against the Viet Cong.  On D-Day, he was inserted as a leader of a Surveillance Ambush Team along the Ding Ho and Binh Ba Rivers, as part of a Joint Navy/Marine Corps Blocking Force.  He remained on station for about 18 hours in thick mangrove swamps, constantly surrounded and exposed to hostile fire from Viet Cong troops.  Chief RUTH's sound judgment and bravery were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

Roy L. Johnson, Admiral, U. S. Navy

Commanding Officer SEAL TEAM TWO

Letter of Commendation

1.  As Commanding Officer, SEAL Team Two, it is my pleasure to commend you for your outstanding performance of duty during your recent deployment to the Republic of Vietnam.  Your courage, selfless devotion to duty, and professional accomplishments while in combat earned the respect and admiration of all  with who you were associated.  Additional recognition of your exemplary performance is contained in reference (a), a message of commendation from your immediate operational commander, and in references (b) through (d).

2.  Reference (b) is quoted in part as follows  "The compilation of over 150 combat operations by the Ninth Platoon during it's tour is a credit to the aggressive spirit and high motivation of the platoon.  Furthermore, the over 55 VC body count logged by the Ninth Platoon with no major casualties taken itself reflects the efficiency and professionalism with which these operations were conducted.  Working primarily in an area where the difficulty of obtaining tactical intelligence has traditionally hampered SEAL operations, the Ninth Platoon demonstrated it's resourcefulness by developing an effective intelligence [GMG1 Frank Thornton: added by klr] network which significantly contributed to the continuing success of the Naval effort in this area.  Well Done."

3.  A portion of reference (c) is paraphrased below:

"Commander Amphibious Training Command, US Pacific Fleet expresses his appreciation and congratulations to LT. Ellis and SEAL Team Ninth Platoon for the outstanding performance and contributions in the Pacific."

4.  Reference (d) is quoted in full:

"Earlier today I had the privilege of taking part in an awards ceremony for 45 members of SEAL Team Two, during which individual SEAL performance was well documented.  Now MSG RPTS reveal the Ninth Platoon operating at an extraordinary level even for SEAL Team Two.  I am confident these new achievements will be similarly rewarded as our nation and our service demonstrate their respect and thanks. 

"WELL DONE!  L.C. Heinz, Vice Admiral."


  • Photos are the property of the Herb Ruth Collection
  • Logos are the property of the respective organization
  • Used by permission.