William David Howsa Ragin – Captain, United States Army

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Captain Ragin was killed in action in Vietnam on August 20, 1964 along with two other Americans and more than 200 South Vietnamese in what the Army called “the 60 minutes of the bloodiest fighting.”

He was a graduate of the Citadel and his wife was the daughter of the Commandant there.

According to witnesses, the unit he served with refused to retreat and fought to the end. A US survivor said, “All of them were professionals. They were made of the stuff that makes men heroes.”

The Old Guard officer in charge of his funeral at Arlington National Cemetery was his closest friend who had been rotated home from Vietnam a short time earlier. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, the Army Commendation Medal, the Purple Heart and an Oak Leaf Cluster.

He is buried in Section 35 at Arlington (adjacent to the Memorial Amphitheater) and next to him is buried the young daughter that he never met, Lisa Ann Ragin, who was born on October 15, 1963 and who died on October 1, 1964.

Another casualty from that battle, Byron Clark Stone, is also buried in Arlington National Cemetery.


WASHINGTON, August 21, 1964 – The Pentagon identified today two of the four Americans killed in a Vietcong ambush yesterday.

They were First Lieutenant William D. H. Ragin, whose wife lives in Fort Monroe, Virginia, and Sergeant First Class Tom Ward, whose wife lived in Fayetteville, North Carolina.  Mrs. Ragin is a daughter of Brigadier General William J. McCaffrey, who is assigned to the Pentagon.


RAGIN, WILLIAM DAVID HOWSA

Citation:

The President of the United States takes pride in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross (Posthumously) to William David Howsa Ragin (0-94420), Captain (Infantry), U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations involving conflict with an armed hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam, while serving with the United States Military Assistance Command, Vietnam.

Captain Ragin distinguished himself by exceptionally valorous actions on 20 August 1964. Captain Ragin was serving as an Advisor to a Ranger Battalion of the armed forces of the Republic of Vietnam when the friendly forces were suddenly ambushed by hostile elements.

Undaunted by the extremely heavy gun fire, Captain Ragin completely disregarded his own personal safety, took a lead position, and encouraged the friendly forces to defend themselves. During the ensuring engagement in which the enemy gun fire was concentrated on his position, he demonstrated fortitude and perseverance by retaliating with the utmost accuracy and succeeded in annihilating a great number of enemy troops during a battle that lasted for 1 hour and 40 minutes.

Despite overwhelming onslaught, he covered the withdrawal of the Rangers with outstanding effectiveness and continued his courageous efforts until mortally wounded.

Captain Ragin's conspicuous gallantry and extraordinary heroic actions are in the highest traditions of the United States Army and reflect great credit upon himself and the military service.

Department of the Army, General Orders No. 2 (February 5, 1965)

RAGIN, LISA ANN INF D/O WILLIAM D

  • DATE OF BIRTH: 10/15/1963
  • DATE OF DEATH: 10/01/1964
  • DATE OF INTERMENT: 10/05/1964
  • BURIED AT: SECTION 35  SITE 1825
  • ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY
  • DAUGHTER OF WD RAGIN

RAGIN, WILLIAM D

  • 1ST LT USA
  • VETERAN SERVICE DATES: Unknown
  • DATE OF BIRTH: 10/17/1939
  • DATE OF DEATH: 08/20/1964
  • DATE OF INTERMENT: 09/04/1964
  • BURIED AT: SECTION 35  SITE 1825
  • ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY

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