Distinguished Service Cross, “Simon Griego”, 38th Infantry, Korea
Distinguished Service Cross, wrap brooch, numbered “18121″ and machine-engraved “Simon/Griego”. With extensive research. This medal was in the Robert Gaynor collection. Gaynor, himself a DSC recipient, was the National Adjutant of the Legion of Valor.
Sergeant Griego [Company C, 38th Infantry, 2nd Infantry Division] distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action against enemy aggressor forces near Taeusan, Korea, on 26 July 1951. Committed to attack and secure key terrain tenaciously defended by a ruthless hostile force occupying well-fortified bunkers, the 1st Platoon moved up the rugged approaches to the hill and, coming under devastating automatic weapons, mortar and small-arms fire, suffered numerous casualties. Sergeant Griego, leader of a machine-gun squad, realizing that encirclement was imminent, immediately displaced his gun to an open forward vantage from which he brought destructive fire to bear on enemy emplacements, slowing the assault and enabling evacuation of the wounded. Since the other members of his squad had been wounded in the initial phase of the action, Sergeant Griego carried ammunition, manned the weapon and, when his ammunition was expended, made repeated trips through withering fire to the rear approximately twenty yards away to replenish his supply. Although sustaining a painful wound in this bitterly contested encounter, Sergeant Griego maintained his magnificent stand until a grenade burst rendered his leg useless, and he was last seen being evacuated to a nearby position.
Sergeant Griego was initially listed as missing in action, but this was changed to killed in action.
The research contains copies of the original recommendation and shows the movement of the package through the command structure (including approvals by Generals Matthew Ridgway and James Van Fleet). At one point, it was returned for a stronger citation, stressing Sergeant Griego’s willingness to sacrifice himself in the action. The package was disapproved by the Secretary of the Army because the recommendation did not provide “incontestable proof of heroism above and beyond the call of duty.” It is very unusual to find the full case file showing the evolution of a medal recommendation.