November 20, 2013
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), along with Congressman Tim Ryan (D-OH-13), worked together to introduce legislation to honor Army Specialist Robert Towles of Windham, OH with the Distinguished Service Cross—the U.S. Army’s second highest military honor. Although he was seriously wounded himself, Mr. Towles heroically fended off an enemy attack in Vietnam and saved the lives of fellow soldiers in his Company. The Army initially awarded Mr. Towles the Bronze Star for Valor but determined in 2013 that he is eligible to receive the Distinguished Service Cross, which more appropriately recognizes his actions. This bipartisan legislation will ensure that Mr. Towles receives proper recognition for his acts of valor and is honored with the Distinguished Service Cross despite the many years that have passed.
“The Distinguished Service Cross is the second highest award that can be given to a member of the United States Army. Only those who exercise extreme gallantry at the risk of life can receive it. It is past time that Specialist Robert Towles was considered for this great honor. It is one he has earned,” said Senator Portman.
“Mr. Towles is a hero who exemplified true bravery, honor, and sacrifice while himself wounded in combat,” Senator Brown said. “His service to our nation promoted peace and democracy, and his actions saved the lives of his fellow soldiers. It is for these reasons that Mr. Towles deserves both our gratitude, respect, and the Distinguished Service Cross.”
“Our country will be forever indebted to Mr. Towles for his dedicated service and life-saving heroism. I first began working with Mr. Towles to get him this award nearly ten years ago, and while it’s taken a long time to arrive at this point, I am grateful that he will finally receive the recognition he has always deserved,” said Congressman Ryan.
On November 17, 1965, Specialist Robert Towles and the 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry encountered enemy soldiers. Towles was wounded early in the fighting and although he was bleeding heavily, he attacked an enemy machine gun overlooking his company’s position. With hand grenades and a rifle, he killed and wounded numerous enemy soldiers and silenced a machine gun. He led the survivors to the defensive perimeter while returning fire against the enemy. His actions allowed the wounded to be removed from the battlefield.