The Silver Star
Earl Ray Michles, born in Pocahontas, Arkansas 22 September 1938, graduated from Arkansas State University with a B.S. E. degree in education, majoring in physical education, and commissioned in the U.S. Army as a second lieutenant, May 1962. Before deploying to Korea in 1964, Lieutenant Michles became an Airborne Ranger. As an exemplary soldier, he quickly rose in rank to captain. Captain Earl Ray Michles was killed in Vietnam, 13 June 1968 in a helicopter-plane collision. Prior to his death, he received the Silver Star.
On 12 February 1968, Earl Ray Michles was commander of B Company, 4th Battalion, 3rd Infantry Division, Paratroops. Early afternoon, while his company was engaged in a search and clear operation near Ma Lai, a heavily armed enemy force attacked Captain Michles and two of his company’s platoons. Although out-numbered, and inclement weather hindered effective air strikes, Captain Michles coordinated all available help. He enabled his men to outmaneuver the enemy and overrun one of their positions. When one of his two platoons was pinned down, he skillfully reorganized his forces, directed artillery strikes, and reached his men with only two casualties. The enemy lost fifty. Captain Michles’ exceptional valor, facing numerically superior, hostile forces in close combat earned him the Silver Star.