Daniel K Mulvihill

Daniel Kenneth Mulvihill

Chicago, Illinois



Silver Star
DURING Vietnam War
Service: Marine Corps
Rank:  Lance Corporal
Battalion: 1st Reconnaissance Battalion
Division: 1st Marine Division (Rein.), FMF

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star to Lance Corporal Daniel Kenneth Mulvihill (MCSN: 2102047), United States Marine Corps, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action while serving as a Radioman with Company C, First Reconnaissance Battalion, FIRST Marine Division (Rein.), FMF, in connection with combat operations against insurgent communist (Viet Cong) forces in the Republic of Vietnam. Shortly after midnight on 16 June 1966, Lance Corporal Mulvihill's eighteen man patrol was occupying an observation post deep within enemy controlled territory in the vicinity of Chi Tu, Quang Tin Province, when a Viet Cong force of estimated battalion size crept close to the Marines' position and, on a pre-determined signal, launched a vicious attack with small arms, automatic weapons and mortar fire. Displaying extraordinary courage and presence of mind in the midst of the relentless fury, Lance Corporal Mulvihill calmly stood up and fired into suspected hostile positions, deliberately drawing the Viet Cong fire in his direction and pinpointing the enemy positions for close support aircraft which were orbiting in the area. Although he was painfully wounded in his valiant effort, he continued to assist his comrades in their stubborn defense of the hill throughout the night. He contributed in large measure to inflicting heavy losses among the attackers and helped to prevent the surviving members of his platoon from death or capture at the hands of the enemy. Lance Corporal Mulvihill's exceptional courage in the face of almost certain death was in keeping with the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and of the United States Naval Service.

Mulvihill is a retired Marine staff sergeant working as the safety specialist with 7th Marine Regiment. He is a Vietnam War veteran who earned a silver star during a battle that made him and his company known as the most highly decorated small unit in the history of the military. Click Here

The Most Decorated Single Unit In

The Vietnam War

In June of 1966 Marine Reconnaissance teams were being sent out to look for enemy movements in the area west of the Chu Lai Marine Base. One of those teams was an 18-man patrol from Charlie Co. 1st Recon, lead by then Staff Sgt. Jimmie Howard. They were inserted by helicopter to the top of Hill 488, some 20 miles west of Chu Lai.


They didn’t know it then, but this patrol would become the most highly decorated single unit in the Vietnam War.


On June 13, shortly after they had been inserted on top of Hill 488, they began to spot enemy activity. They were supported by an Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) 105mm howitzer battery. They called in artillery missions on those movements. Two days later, they spotted even more enemy movements and again began calling in artillery missions. It became obvious to the enemy troops that they were being observed and they had a fair idea as to where they were being observed from as well.


It was shortly after that when Staff Sgt. Howard reported on the radio that there were squads of NVA force, later identified as being from the 3rd NVA Regiment, that were beginning to move toward his position on top of Hill 488.


In the total darkness, just after midnight on June 15th, 1966 the NVA began probing the Recon team’s position. One of the Navy Hospital Corpsman with the team, B.C. Holmes, recalled, “They were within 20 feet of us. Suddenly there were grenades all over the place. People started hollering. Guys were getting hit at the same time.”


In other words, all hell broke loose for this 18 man Recon team, which was clearly outnumbered. But they fought back with a ferocity that would later be recognized by the Marines that were airlifted out to help them get out of that mess.


The 3rd NVA regiment forces were coming at them with everything they had. The Recon Marines’ position was being swept by AK-47 and heavy machine gun fire from everywhere. Howard got on the radio and reported to Lt. Col. Arthur Sullivan.

“You’ve got to get us out of here,” he told Sullivan. “There are too many of them for my people.”


Sullivan immediately called in Marine and Air Force air support. Marine Huey gunships began strafing runs to within 20 feet of the Recon perimeters and Marine and Air Force fighter jets were dropping bombs as close as 100 meters from their position. This helped to slow down the NVA assault on Howard’s Recon Marines, but the enemy stayed in the fight throughout the night, firing AK-47 rifle fire at the Reconners all night.


Things couldn’t have been worse for Howards Recon team. They were running out of ammo. In fact, they started throwing rocks at the enemy, hoping that they would think that they were grenades.


During the night, Howard himself was hit in the back by AK-47 rifle fire. This temporarily paralyzed his legs, but not his spirit. He dragged himself from position to position throughout the night, encouraging his men, keeping them in the fight, even though every last one of them had been wounded.


At Dawn, UH-34 helicopters from Marine Aircraft Group 36 (MAG 36) flew in Marines from Charlie Co. 1st Bn, 5th Marines out of Chu Lai. They were led by 1st Lt. Marshall Darling. They were inserted at the base of Hill 488 and began to assault the NVA 3rd Regiment forces from below in the effort to help break the siege on the Reconners at the top of the hill. As they got to the top of Hill 488, they reported that when they approached the Recon Marines, nearly all of them were armed with AK-47s they had taken from the enemy dead.


Every one of the Recon Marines and Corpsmen had been wounded, most more than one time. The Marines from C/1/5 counted 42 dead NVA around the Recon position. In this fight, the Marines suffered 10 KIA, including 2 from C/1/5 and 2 from one of the Huey squadrons, meaning that 6 of the 18 Charlie, 1st Recon team members were among those KIA.


When it was all over, Staff Sgt, Jimmie Howard would be awarded the Medal of Honor; Ricardo Binns and Hospital Corpsman, B.C. Holmes would receive the Navy Cross; J.T. Adams and J.R. Thompson would be awarded the Navy Cross posthumously; Charles Bosley, Hospital Corpsman R.J. Fitzpatrick, Raymond Hildreth, Joseph Kosoglow, Robert Martinez, Daniel Mulvihill, William Norman, Thomas Powells, and Ralph Victor, would be awarded Silver Stars; And Ignatius Carlisi, T.D. Glawe, J.C. McKinney and A.N. Mascarenas would receive the Silver Star posthumously.

All 18 men were awarded for their valor that night on top of Hill 488.

"We haven't seen each other in at least 40-years," exclaimed Peter Cetani of Yorktown, NY, left, when he brought members of his 1st Recon, delta company group: Daniel Muldihill, Stan Chronister and Mike Sheridan together for a group photo at Camp Pendleton during Recon 50, the 50th commemorative reunion of Marine Corps reconnaissance forces and supporting helicopter crews who served in Vietnam during the period from 1965 through 1971.

MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. -- Mulvihill is a retired Marine staff sergeant working as the safety specialist with 7th Marine Regiment. He is a Vietnam War veteran who earned a silver star during a battle that made him and his company known as the most highly decorated small unit in the history of the military.

• My neighborhood in Chicago wasn’t the best place to be, even back in the 1950s. I joined the Marine Corps in June of 1964 because I knew it would benefit me to get out of Chicago. At the time, the Marine Corps was a safer place to be than inner-city Chicago.

• I signed up and became a radio operator. It was funny because I finished basic training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, and then moved a few buildings down for communications school.

• My first unit was 1st Reconnaissance Battalion. It was a scary thought at first. I wanted to be a grunt, but not a super grunt.

• In 1965, we found out we were heading to Vietnam. Pretty much the whole 1st Marine Division was packing up and heading to Vietnam at the time. I remember it was close to 25 ships that picked us all up in Long Beach, Calif., and shipped us off.

• I had only done three or four patrols before me and my guys ended up in the battle for our lives. 18 of us went in, 12 of us survived. Our platoon sergeant, Jimmie Howard, received the Medal of Honor, four of our guys received Navy Crosses, and 13 of us received Silver Stars.

• One of our guys ended up writing a book on the battle called Hill 488. It was interesting for me to read because everyone has a different perspective on combat. Everyone sees it in a different way.

• I tried to live my life after that in honor of the ones that didn’t make it out with us. I always felt guilty that I survived and they didn’t. I have learned to live with it, and have tried my best to be a respectable person.

• In 1968, I ended up getting out of the Marine Corps and pursuing a career. After doing that for about 15 years, I was 38 years old when I decided I wanted to get back into the Marine Corps.

• Me and my wife used to joke about me getting back into the Marine Corps, but I never really thought it would happen. I got around to talking to a recruiter and I ended up back in the Marine Corps as a 38-year-old lance corporal.

• A lot had changed in the 17 years I was out, but a lot was the same as well. The second time around I ended up getting into recruiting and was able to work out of Chicago.

• I enjoyed recruiting. I was recruiting all kinds of different people including my own son.

• After recruiting for many years, I wanted to get back to the fleet. When I got back, I was with 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, and it wasn’t long before I realized my age was catching up with me. I was undergoing knee and shoulder surgery, and ended up transferring and becoming the Marine Liaison at the Naval Hospital on base.

• While I was there I did several different things. My most memorable was working deceased affairs. It was a great honor for me to put Marines back in their uniform for their last trip home after paying the ultimate sacrifice.

• I ended up retiring from the Marine Corps and continued working at the Naval Hospital as a Department of Defense employee.

• In 2005 my family was hit pretty hard with a tragedy. My only son was killed in a vehicle accident on Interstate 15. He was rear-ended by a woman who was speeding and not paying attention.

• After that incident I couldn’t work around dead bodies at the hospital anymore, so I ended up filling the safety position with 7th Marine Regiment.

• During that time, my wife Kathleen was my rock. She has always supported me being a Marine, and gives back to the Marines herself working at the Robert E. Bush Naval Hospital.

• What happened to my son has greatly impacted my passion and reasoning for getting into safety. I try extremely hard to express to these Marines and sailors here the importance of safety. If I can get at least one Marine to turn the cellphone off when he is driving, or get Marines to have a plan when they are going out, I feel like I’m making a difference.

• I get teased a lot about my age and get the question, ‘Are you going to retire?’ a lot. To me, it reverts back to Vietnam. I survived that, and I owe it to Marines who didn’t. I would rather be here doing my best to stress the importance of safety to these Marines, than be home sitting around.

Daniel K Mulvihill

The Battle of Hill 488

Original Email Message -----From: Daniel Mulvihill
To: floyd@weststpaulantiques.com
Sent: Wednesday, July 17, 2019 3:45 PM
Subject: E-mail addy for old Bn Recon sites

Mr. Ruggles,

Thanks for speaking with me today.

I will give you both of my e-mail addys




Both will work.

As I requested am looking for the older e-mail sites that

Bob Morris , Wayne Sirois or Lt. Riley were running back in the early to mid 2000’s. One site had the e-mails broken down by the years sent. Wish to look for several e-mails from that era for research and photo attachments for my family historical


Also you asked that I mention that A good friend and fellow reconner Steve Mace passed away several months ago.

Also that Rick Binns and Charles “Chuck”Bosley from the Hill 488 Battle went on “ the after life long range patrol” these past several months.

Hope to hear from you soon. In the mean time I will keep looking for those sites. Have a great Reunion in August.

Semper Fi,

  Dan Mulvihill/Tactical Safety Specialist

7th Marines

1st Marine Division