Medal of Honor





Rank and organization: Private First Class, U.S. Marine Corps, 3rd Platoon, Company D, 1st Battalion, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division (Rein) FMF


Place and date: Que Son Mountains, Republic of Vietnam, 12 November 1969


Entered service at: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania


Born: 15 July 1950, Shelocta, Indiana County, Pennsylvania




As a member of a reaction force which was pinned down by enemy fire while assisting a platoon in the same circumstance, Pfc. Dias, observing that both units were sustaining casualties, initiated an aggressive assault against an enemy machine gun bunker which was the principal source of hostile fire. Severely wounded by enemy snipers while charging across the open area, he pulled himself to the shelter of a nearby rock. Braving enemy fire for a second time, Pfc. Dias was again wounded. Unable to walk, he crawled 15 meters to the protection of a rock located near his objective and, repeatedly exposing himself to intense hostile fire, unsuccessfully threw several hand grenades at the machine gun emplacement. Still determined to destroy the emplacement, Pfc. Dias again moved into the open and was wounded a third time by sniper fire. As he threw a last grenade which destroyed the enemy position, he was mortally wounded by another enemy round. Pfc. Dias' indomitable courage, dynamic initiative, and selfless devotion to duty upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and The U.S. Naval Service, He gallantly gave his life in the service to his country.


On 6 May 2003 Lt. Paul Gibbs wrote:

Neil my name is Paul Gibbs. I was the platoon commander of the third platoon of Delta on Nov. 12, 1969. Ralph was a very brave and dedicated Marine. We also lost another good Marine, George Hamlett that day. I was wounded in both legs by the gun Ralph took out. This resulted in a year in the Naval Hospital in Millington, Tennessee, and forced to retire from the Marines. If anyone wants to know about Ralph or George on that day or the weeks leading up to the battle of Hill 952 and their actions I will be glad to tell them. I went on many patrols with these two heroes and they were always ready to do what was needed.

I know that these two are truly guarding the streets of Heaven as our Hymn says.

Lt. Paul Gibbs

On 4 October 2000 Tracy Dias LaFleme wrote:

Dear Sir,

My name is Tracy Dias LaFleme. I am Ralph's niece. His brother James is my father. I am trying to find out everything I can about my uncle. I am trying to get information on him to pass on to my children. I do not want to let his memory die. He was a very brave and wonderful man. Well, at least from what I have read. See, I wasn't born until March 1, 1972. But my Uncle Ralph is my hero. The family won't discuss it. So I have been searching on my own for the last 10 years to find out what I could and until yesterday I had kept hitting dead ends. I had to take my step dad to the VA Clinic in Youngstown Ohio and I spoke with a gentlemen who told me about this web site so here I am writing you and hoping that it isn't another dead end. I have two children. I have a 9 year old daughter. Last year she had to write about her hero in 3rd grade and she did it on her Great Uncle Ralph. I still have that report. I was so proud because I knew that everything I have have told over and over again for the last 9 years has stuck in her head. At that time she was 8. Then I have a 5 year old son whom carries my uncles middle name and he carries it with pride. I myself wrote a poem called "Semper Fidelis" and had it published this year. If you are interrested in it let me know and I will send it to you. It is about my Uncle. I do a lot of writing about him. Although he is the man I never knew he has inspired my life and is my guardian angel and is with me everyday. Remember MARINES GUARD THE STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN. I know that when my time comes my Uncle will be there to greet me. I hope to hear back from you and soon. Any information you can give me would be wonderful and if if you can't give me any it would still be nice to hear from you. By the way, I remember Veteran's Day every year. On that day, I do no send my children to school and I do not go to work because that is a day we should all be remembering our veterens, cherishing them, being grateful for them. and counting our blessings. My kids and I thank a vet everyday day but Veteren's Day is just extra special for us. Thank You. And although I don't know you, I will pray for you and your family and safety and health. Thank you again for all that you are doing in my Uncle's honor.


Tracy M. Dias LaFleme


--- General / Personal ---


Last name: DIAS

First name: RALPH ELLIS

Home of Record (official): SHELOCTA

State (official): PA

Date of Birth: Saturday, July 15, 1950

Sex: Male

Race: Caucasian

Marital Status: Single


--- Military ---


Branch: Marine Corps

Rank: PFC

Serial Number: 195381053

Component: Regular

Pay grade: E2

MOS (Military Occupational Specialty code): 0311


--- Action ---


Start of Tour: Monday, April 28, 1969

Date of Casualty: Wednesday, November 12, 1969

Age at time of loss: 19

Casualty type: (A1) Hostile, died

Reason: Gun, small arms fire (Ground casualty)

Country: South VietNam

Province: Quang Nam

The Wall: Panel 16W - Row 063

Back to Citations Page

Back to Home Page


Send comments and questions to: