A Final Valiant Act

The Story of Doug Dickey, Medal of Honor

John Lang

The story of Doug Dickey, a young Marine in Vietnam who acted when a grenade landed nearby and saved the lives of his comrades.
Date Published :
April 2020
Publisher :
Illustration :
48 black and white photographs, 10 maps, 3 diagrams
Format Available    QuantityPrice
ISBN : 9781612007571
Pages : 288
Dimensions : 9 X 6 inches
Not Yet Published. Available for Pre-Order


Private First Class Douglas E. Dickey was just 20 years old when he dove on a grenade, saving four men, including his platoon leader. The young Marine's actions, on Easter Sunday 1967, resulted in a posthumous Medal of Honor.

Doug grew up in Ohio and enlisted in the Marine Corps with four of his high school friends. In Vietnam he served in 2nd Platoon, 1st Battalion, 4th Marines. The 1st Battalion was one of the few Marine units executing the amphibious assault mission in Vietnam. As part of 2nd Platoon, Doug took part in Operation Deckhouse VI, a landing in Quang Ngai, then Operation Beacon Hill, which culminated in a desperate battle on March 26, 1967 when the platoon was almost wiped out. In the afternoon the platoon ran into a devastating ambush. More than 40 men went into battle that day. The next morning only 12 men walked out. With casualties mounting quickly, a grenade landed in the midst of the platoon. With complete disregard for his own life, Doug dove onto the grenade.

Doug's comrades in 2nd Platoon never forgot him, they started holding yearly reunions in 1997, and that first one was held in Doug's home town. They continue to hold reunions in the home towns of their fallen comrades, meeting with the families of their comrades killed in action.

This biography of Dickey places his final, valiant act in the context of his life and that of his comrades and family. It is based on over a decade of research, including interviews and Dickey's letters home, includes the most detailed account of Operation Beacon Hill yet written.

About The Author

John Lang is a native of Monterey, California, and a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy. Lang spent most of his adult life in the Marine Corps, and is a veteran of three combat operations. He retired from the Marine Corps in 2004 with more than 22 years of commissioned service. He has more than 27 military awards and decorations, and was the Marine Corps intelligence officer of the year in 1996.


1. Introduction: No Words; 2. An American Family; 3. A Distant War; 4. The Buddy Program; 5. I Corps: "Marineland"; 6. Platoon 394; 7. 1st Battalion, 4th Marines: God, Country, Duty, Corps; 8. Okinawa; 9. The Special Landing Force (SLF); 10. HMM 363: The Lucky Red Lions; 11. Soldiers of the Sea; 12. Operation Deckhouse VI; 13. Subic; 14. A Purple Heart; 15. Operation Beacon Hill; 16. Easter Sunday; 17. The Gold Star; 18. The Medal of Honor; 19. A Marine Hero is Honored; 20. Veterans; 21. Rally Point; 22. A Brotherhood; 23. The Legacy

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