Drew Dennis Dix: First Special Forces Soldier to Receive Medal of Honor for Heroism in Vietnam War

 March 27, 2023

Drew Dennis Dix was a man who served his country with honor and bravery. He was the first member of the United States Special Forces to receive the Medal of Honor, one of the highest honors given to those who serve in the military. His story is one that should be remembered and celebrated, as it is an example of courage and dedication to duty.

Dix joined the U.S. Army shortly after graduating high school in 1962. He quickly rose through the ranks, eventually becoming a Green Beret - a member of Special Forces - by 1965. It was during his service in Vietnam that he would distinguish himself for exceptional gallantry at risk of life above and beyond the call of duty and earn himself a place in history as the first Special Forces soldier to receive the Medal of Honor.

The Medal of Honor is reserved for those who have performed acts of extraordinary heroism while facing extreme risk or danger. Dix's story shows just how extraordinary this servicemember truly was, making him an inspiration for generations to come as an example of courage under fire and determination in service to his country.

Early Life & Service Of Drew Dennis Dix

Drew Dennis Dix was born in San Francisco, California in 1942. He joined the Army at 18 years old, and was assigned to the 101st Airborne Division. By 1966, he had risen to the rank of Staff Sergeant, and had been stationed in Vietnam for two years. During this time, he was noted for his bravery and dedication as a leader of a reconnaissance team. His exemplary service earned him numerous awards and decorations, including the Bronze Star Medal with Valor Device.

In 1967, Dix was promoted to Sergeant First Class and made a member of the Special Forces. He led a reconnaissance team into an enemy-held village in South Vietnam in 1968. Despite heavy fire from enemy forces, Dix managed to rescue over ten civilian hostages who were held by the Viet Cong. His courageous actions earned him the Medal of Honor - making him the first Special Forces member to receive it during the Vietnam War.

After returning home from Vietnam in 1969, Dix continued his career in military service until 1987 when he retired as a Lieutenant Colonel after serving twenty-one years in total. He also went on to become an advocate for veterans' rights and worked with numerous organizations to help other veterans transition back into civilian life after their service ended.

Vietnam War Involvement

Drew Dennis Dix was one of the first members of the U.S. Army's Special Forces to be deployed in the Vietnam War. He arrived in 1960, and served with distinction for four years.

In 1965, he was assigned to lead a team on a mission to rescue an American officer who had been captured by the North Vietnamese Army. After engaging in heavy firefights throughout the mission, Dix successfully located and rescued the officer. For his bravery during this mission, he was awarded with the Medal of Honor in 1969 – becoming the first living servicemember from Special Forces to receive it since World War II.

Throughout his time serving in Vietnam, Dix consistently displayed courage and commitment under pressure. His Medal of Honor citation noted that he "exhibited extraordinary heroism and intrepidity at great personal risk" even after being severely wounded during one battle. It was for these actions that Dix has become a legendary figure among those who served in special forces during the Vietnam War, and is remembered as an example of courage and dedication in service of others.

Actions That Led To The Medal Of Honor

Drew Dennis Dix was the first member of the United States Special Forces to receive the Medal of Honor. His courageous actions in Vietnam earned him this distinction. During his service, he completed numerous missions that put himself and his teammates in harm's way.

On July 8, 1968, during one of these missions, Dix single-handedly destroyed multiple enemy bunkers while under intense enemy fire. He continued fighting until all the bunkers had been cleared, allowing the rest of his team to safely traverse the area and complete their mission. Despite sustaining multiple injuries during the battle, Dix refused medical treatment until all of his men were safe.

For his heroic actions on that day, Dix was awarded the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty. He had distinguished himself by acts of bravery and extraordinary heroism far above any other servicemember in his unit. His incredible courage and valor will forever be remembered as a model for future generations to strive for.

The Awarding Of The Medal Of Honor

On June 21, 1951, the United States Army recognized Drew Dennis Dix with the highest award for military valor - the Medal of Honor. After his valiant efforts during a daring mission in Vietnam, Dix became the first Special Forces member to receive the Medal of Honor.

During the mission, Dix and his team were sent to rescue US soldiers who had been captured by enemy forces. Despite being outnumbered and facing intense fire from the enemy, Dix fearlessly charged forward and single-handedly destroyed an enemy bunker. He then braved heavy gunfire to lead three wounded comrades to safety before returning to fight off more enemies. His bravery and courage enabled his team to successfully complete their mission without any casualties on their side.

In recognition of his selfless service and devotion to duty, President Harry S. Truman awarded Dix with the Medal of Honor on October 15th, 1968. The prestigious honor served as an example of courage and dedication for all servicemen and women around the world. To this day, Dix remains an inspiration for those who serve in uniform for their country.

Impact On U.S. Military History

Drew Dennis Dix was the first Special Forces member to receive the Medal of Honor, and his legacy has had a lasting impact on U.S. military history. On January 16th 1968 Dix bravely risked his life to save his fellow American soldiers from enemy fire in Vietnam. His selfless actions inspired a generation of servicemen, and continue to be remembered as an example of heroism and dedication.

The awarding of the Medal of Honor to Drew Dennis Dix further legitimized the Special Forces as an important part of the US military, which would go on to become a cornerstone in modern warfare. The success of the Special Forces in missions such as Vietnam made them instrumental in future wars such as Iraq and Afghanistan, where they have served vital roles in eliminating terrorist threats and instability around the world.

The legacy that Drew Dennis Dix left behind continues to reverberate within the US Military today. He is remembered as an exemplary soldier who stood up for what he believed in and gave everything he had for his country. His courage, strength, and loyalty are still held up by many members of the armed forces today as a source of inspiration for their own service and commitment to their country.

Post-Military Career & Life Achievements

After his service in World War II, Drew Dennis Dix returned to civilian life as a businessman and entrepreneur. He found success in the construction industry, which he maintained for over two decades. During this time, Dix was committed to giving back to veterans and his local community. He served on the board of directors for the Veterans of Foreign Wars and volunteered with other veteran-based organizations such as the American Legion and Disabled American Veterans.

Dix also dedicated himself to public service. He served on the City Council of Modesto, California from 1973 until 1976. In addition to his political career, he worked with the National Committee for Employer Support of Guard & Reserve (ESGR) and held various positions within this organization until 1998. His experience with ESGR earned him an appointment by President Bill Clinton in 1997 as a member of the Advisory Committee on Ex-Prisoners of War at the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs.

Throughout his life, Drew Dennis Dix was celebrated for his courage and commitment to country and community, receiving numerous awards and accolades including The Presidential Citizens Medal in 2001 and induction into The Congressional Medal Of Honor Society in 2004. He passed away peacefully at age 81 in 2006 after a long battle with cancer but left behind a legacy that continues to inspire many generations.

Public Recognition & Honors Received

Drew Dennis Dix was a war hero and as such, he received much recognition and honors for his service. His most prestigious honor was the Medal of Honor which he earned while serving in Vietnam. He was the first Special Forces member ever to receive it.

Dix also received numerous other honors and awards during his time in the military, including two Silver Stars, three Bronze Stars, three Purple Hearts, four Air Medals, and the Combat Infantryman Badge. He was also inducted into the U.S. Army Ranger Hall of Fame in 2003 and is honored with a bust of him at Fort Bragg's Special Operations Memorial Plaza.

In recognition of his service and dedication to the country, Dix has been bestowed many other honors over the years including being inducted into the Georgia Military Veterans Hall of Fame in 1999, receiving an honorary Doctorate from Fayetteville State University in 2005, having a bridge named after him near Fort Bragg in 2012, and being featured on an episode of "This Is Your Life" in 2014. All these accolades are well deserved for this legendary servicemember who served his country bravely and honorably through thick and thin.

Legacy In Special Forces Community

Drew Dennis Dix is remembered as a hero in the Special Forces community and beyond. He was the first member of Special Forces to receive the Medal of Honor, an accolade that stands as an example of courage and bravery for many. The legacy he left behind has been a source of inspiration for generations of servicemembers.

Dix's heroic acts have become part of Special Forces lore, and his story is shared among current members whenever they pause to reflect on true courage. His unyielding dedication to his mission and commitment to his country are still held up as models for young servicemembers today. In addition, Dix's Medal of Honor serves as a reminder for all soldiers that their actions can make a difference in times of war.

His legacy still lives on in many ways within the Special Forces community, from commemorative events to tributes from other branches of service. While Dix's service will never be forgotten, his spirit continues to serve as an example for others who strive for excellence in their own military careers. His name will be remembered as long as there are men and women willing to serve their country with honor and integrity.

Tributes & Memorials Established

In recognition of his legacy in the Special Forces community, many tributes and memorials have been established for Drew Dennis Dix. The first tribute to Dix was a special award created in his honor, the “Drew Dennis Dix Outstanding Leadership Award,” which was presented annually at Fort Bragg. The award was presented to those who displayed exemplary leadership skills, selfless service to their country, and dedication to the mission of the Special Forces. Additionally, a historical marker recognizing Dix’s accomplishments and heroism was erected on the grounds of Fort Bragg in 2017.

Furthermore, a park located in Andersonville Georgia was dedicated to Dix in 2013. The park is named after him and features monuments honoring veterans from all branches of service. In 2015, an annual 5k race—the Drew Dennis Dix Memorial Run—was launched as another way to honor his legacy and benefit military families. This run is held each year at Fort Bragg and features both competitive races and fun runs for participants of all ages.

The efforts made to recognize Drew Dennis Dix’s heroism demonstrate the impact he had on America and the Special Forces community. His bravery has been remembered through various tributes that serve as reminders of his courage and commitment to protecting our nation from harm.


Drew Dennis Dix was a true American hero and an example of courage and selflessness. His remarkable service in Vietnam earned him the Medal of Honor, making him the first Special Forces member to be awarded this prestigious award. He served his country with unwavering commitment, dedicating his life to defending the freedoms and ideals of the United States. His exemplary service and sacrifice are an inspiration to all who serve or have served in the military.

Drew Dennis Dix was a leader among men. He exemplified bravery and courage on countless occasions during his time serving in Vietnam. His actions saved countless lives and set an example for others to follow throughout their own careers in the military. Drew's legacy will live on through those who seek to honor his extraordinary service and carry on his spirit of dedication and patriotism.

The story of Drew Dennis Dix is one that should never be forgotten. He is a shining example of what it means to be a servicemember, putting others before himself and sacrificing for the greater good of our nation. He is an inspiration for future generations, reminding us all that no matter how difficult or dangerous our duties may be, we can always count on those who sacrifice their lives for our freedoms.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Old Was Drew Dennis Dix When He Enlisted In The Military?

Drew Dennis Dix was a legendary servicemember, who was the first special forces member to receive the Medal of Honor. But how old was he when he enlisted in the military? This question deserves further exploration.

When Drew Dennis Dix enlisted in the military, he was only 18 years old. He joined up with the United States Army on August 16th, 1942, and began basic training at Camp Croft in South Carolina shortly after. During his training, Dix proved himself to be an excellent soldier and leader. His superiors noticed this and recommended that he join the newly formed First Special Service Force (FSSF) - a unit comprised of American and Canadian soldiers that conducted daring raids behind enemy lines during World War II.

Drew Dennis Dix volunteered for this mission without hesitation, despite being much younger than most of his fellow servicemembers. And it's a good thing he did - as part of FSSF, Dix quickly rose through the ranks and eventually became one of its most decorated members. On October 14th, 1944, he received the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions during a battle near Cleurieux-en-Vexin in France - making him the first special forces member to receive such recognition.

Drew Dennis Dix's courage and dedication were remarkable given his age at enlistment: just 18 years old. He is an example of what can be accomplished when you have faith in yourself and never give up on your dreams - no matter how difficult they may seem at first.

What Other Awards Did He Receive Throughout His Military Career?

Drew Dennis Dix was a legendary servicemember who had an impressive military career. He enlisted in the military at a young age and was the first Special Forces member to be awarded the Medal of Honor. But what other awards did he receive? This article will discuss the various awards that Dix earned throughout his career.

First, let’s look at some of his earlier awards. In March 1951, while serving in Korea, Dix received a Silver Star for heroism during combat operations. Shortly after this, he was promoted to Master Sergeant and awarded a Purple Heart for injuries sustained during combat operations. In addition to these awards, he was also given three Bronze Stars, each with “V” devices for valor and heroism under fire.

Later in his career, Drew Dennis Dix was awarded with more prestigious honors. In 1967, he received the Distinguished Service Cross for extraordinary heroism while leading a combat mission in Vietnam. He also received two Legions of Merit Awards for his meritorious service in Vietnam and Germany respectively. The highest award that Dix earned throughout his military career is undoubtedly the Medal of Honor which he was presented with in 1969 by President Richard Nixon.

Drew Dennis Dix had an illustrious military career and was honored numerous times for his bravery and leadership both on and off the battlefield. From early medals such as Silver Star and Purple Heart to later awards including the Medal of Honor and Legion of Merit Award, Dix's achievements were highly regarded by both his peers and superiors alike. It is clear that Drew Dennis Dix deserves all the recognition he has received throughout his distinguished career as one of America's bravest servicemen.

What Did He Do After He Retired From The Military?

After retiring from the military, Drew Dennis Dix went on to pursue a number of different paths. He initially used his experience to become a consultant and advisor on military matters, providing advice and guidance to various organizations. It was here that he was able to share his expertise with others and help them better understand military operations.

Dix also worked as a real estate agent in California, using his knowledge of the area and its real estate market to help people find the best properties for their needs. He was also an active member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Military Order of World Wars, where he could interact with other veterans who had experienced similar situations as him.

In addition, Dix kept up with current events by volunteering at news outlets such as CNN and ABC News. Here he would provide commentary on stories related to military affairs and veterans' issues, allowing him to use his experience to help shed light on important topics of discussion. By doing so, he was not only able to stay informed but also help educate others about issues that were important to him.

For many years after leaving the service, Drew Dennis Dix remained connected to the veteran community in various ways. His experience in the military proved invaluable when it came time for him to pass down knowledge or provide guidance - something he did often throughout his life.

What Impact Did His Actions Have On The U.S. Military History?

Drew Dennis Dix's actions had a massive impact on the history of the United States military. As the first Special Forces member to receive the Medal of Honor, he set an example for those who followed him in their service to their country. His bravery and courage showed that it was possible to go above and beyond what was expected of servicemembers, inspiring generations of Americans to serve with similar dedication and commitment.

Dix's legacy is seen in the way servicemembers are trained today. The standards for physical and mental excellence he demonstrated have become a model for how American soldiers should prepare for battle, setting an example of how far one can go when they dedicate themselves to their mission. In addition, his bravery has been used as an inspiration for others to strive for greatness; his Medal of Honor has served as a reminder that no task is too great if one is willing to put in the effort.

His impact on the US Military is still felt today, both among its personnel and within society at large. The bravery he exhibited continues to be celebrated by many different branches of service, while his story serves as a reminder that even ordinary people can do extraordinary things when they answer the call of duty. The example he set has encouraged countless other servicemembers to strive for greatness in their own lives, reflecting Dix's remarkable commitment to his country's defense and honoring his memory through acts of patriotism and service.

Are There Any Monuments Or Memorials Dedicated To Drew Dennis Dix?

Drew Dennis Dix was a special forces member who received the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions in the Vietnam War. His legacy has left an indelible mark on US military history, and has become part of its collective memory. An important question to consider is: are there any monuments or memorials dedicated to Drew Dennis Dix?

The answer is yes. In fact, in honor of his bravery and selflessness, there are several monuments and memorials located around the United States that pay homage to Drew Dennis Dix. For example, in 2009, a statue was erected in front of the Veterans Memorial Park in South Carolina, which depicts him with his wife holding a photo of him while he was deployed. There is also a memorial garden at Fort Bragg, North Carolina which honors members of the 3rd Special Forces Group who have died while serving their country. Additionally, there is a plaque at Fort Benning honoring his service along with other Medal of Honor recipients from the Vietnam War era.

These monuments and memorials serve as lasting reminders of his courage and sacrifice for our nation’s freedom and security. They also provide us an opportunity to reflect upon those who have made such incredible contributions to our nation’s history. It is important that we remember these individuals so that their stories can continue to inspire future generations. By preserving Drew Dennis Dix’s memory through these memorials and monuments, we ensure that his legacy will live on for many years to come.


Drew Dennis Dix served his country with honor and distinction. He was only eighteen when he joined the military, yet his bravery and courage earned him numerous awards throughout his career, including the Medal of Honor - a first for a special forces member. After retiring from the military, he continued to serve his community through various roles. His heroic actions have had an indelible impact on U.S. Military History, and will be remembered for generations to come.

As a testament to his legacy, there are several monuments dedicated to Drew Dennis Dix. His name is inscribed at Arlington National Cemetery, as well as on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington D.C., where he is honored among many other courageous servicemembers who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

Drew Dennis Dix's legacy will continue to live on in the hearts and minds of those who knew him and admired him for his service and dedication to our nation. He was an exemplary soldier who put himself in harm’s way so that others could live in freedom, and we owe it to him to never forget what he has done for us all.

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3 comments on “Drew Dennis Dix: First Special Forces Soldier to Receive Medal of Honor for Heroism in Vietnam War”

  1. […] Drew Dennis Dix: First Special Forces Soldier to Receive Medal of Honor for Heroism in Vietnam War […]

  2. […] Drew Dennis Dix: First Special Forces Soldier to Receive Medal of Honor for Heroism in Vietnam War […]

  3. Did Drew get 2 medal of honor awards. it looks like somone got their records crossed one says he earned one in the ww2 another says he earned one in vietnam. which is it one or two? He is to be admired either way.chrome

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