Our Fathers - Our Tributes

MSGT Richard Carlysle Keefe
1st Cavalry (Airmobile), HHC, 2/12

Service in Vietnam
1967 – 1968

Location of Casualty
Quang Nam, Vietnam

The Wall
Panel 033E Line 070


MSGT Keefe was the Senior S2 NCO (Sergeant) for the 2/12 Cavalry in the Que Son Valley. On 7 Jan 68, he departed LZ Ross to assist the Battalion Commander in his attempt to add command and control to the battlefield during a tough fight against the 3rd NVA Regiment. His helicopter was shot down by NVA AAA, and he and all on board perished. Among his many contributions to the unit, MSG Keefe was one of the key players in disseminating key intelligence warning of an impending NVA attack on LZ Ross and LZ Leslie. That attack took place a few days prior to his death. As a direct result of MSG Keefe’s efforts, as well as others, the 2/12 Cavalry’s base camps were well fortified and the unit was prepared for the 3 Jan 68 attacks.

He was awarded the Silver Star for gallantry in action on the day of the attack. The citation reads:

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress July 9, 1918 (amended by an act of July 25, 1963), takes pride in presenting the Silver Star (Posthumously) to Sergeant First Class Richard Carlysle Keefe (ASN: RA-18487616), United States Army, for gallantry in action while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an armed hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam. Sergeant First Class Keefe distinguished himself by exceptionally valorous action on 3 January 1968, while serving as an intelligence sergeant with the 2d Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile), during a combat mission near Que Son, Republic of Vietnam. When his unit came under an enemy attack, Sergeant Keefe exposed himself to the hostile fire as he moved through an open area to the tactical operations center to insure their defenses were in proper order. Sergeant Keefe then moved from position to position, evacuating the injured personnel to safety. Again exposing himself to the enemy fire, Sergeant Keefe organized and directed the medical evacuation of all the wounded personnel. His gallant action was in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service, and reflects great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.