1LT Patrick Dixon, Class of 1967
Patrick Martin Dixon was born September 1, 1945 in Washington, D. C. at a time when the family resided nearby, temporarily. He attended the schools in Dixon, Illinois, graduating from Dixon High School in 1963. He was a good student and also a member of football, basketball and track teams. He entered the University of Notre Dame in the fall of 1963. He was continued to be successful both in and out of the classroom. He won his monogram in track and entered the Army ROTC program. Through ROTC, he developed an interest in an army career and possessed and abundance of talent for becoming a successful officer. He graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 1967, winning the “Outstanding Army ROTC Cadet” award for that year. In his senior year, he was the Cadet Brigade Commander leading over 1,000 Army ROTC Cadets.
Soon after, he entered the Infantry School at Ft. Benning, Georgia where he graduated from the Infantry Officers’ Basic Course and went on to earn the coveted Ranger Tab. He served at Ft. Polk, Louisiana until October, 1968. Then he was sent to Vietnam and was assigned to 5th Battalion, 60th Infantry, 9th Infantry Division. Initially he led a rifle platoon in Company B. Later he was assigned to command the reconnaissance platoon of the battalion. He was killed in action on 28 May, 1969 after volunteering to lead a patrol alongside a platoon leader who had recently arrived in Vietnam in an effort to train his replacement to the highest standards.
Patrick M. Dixon was awarded posthumously the Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star for gallantry in action, Bronze Star Medal, Army Commendation Medal for heroism and the Purple Heart. “For extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations involving conflict with an armed hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam: First Lieutenant Dixon distinguished himself by exceptionally valorous actions on 28 May 1969 while serving as a platoon leader during an air mobile operation in Long An Province. As soon as the element disembarked from the insertion helicopter, it came under intense enemy crossfire. Without hesitation, Lieutenant Dixon directed his men to return fire, which forced the hostile forces to disperse. In following the retreating foe, the platoon encountered machine gun fire from a concealed bunker. Lieutenant Dixon pushed one of his men out of the direct line of enemy fire and was wounded as a result of his action. He proceeded to crawl through the heavy barrage toward the hostile employment until he could silence the fortification with a fragmentation grenade. Though seriously wounded himself, he crawled to one of his wounded comrades to administer first aid and remove the man to safety. As he started out to retrieve another injured man, he succumbed to his fatal wounds. First Lieutenant Dixon’s extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty, at the cost of his life, were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit and the United States Army.”
Through the courtesy and timely action of higher commands, Patrick’s neighbor and closest boyhood friend, 1LT Michael Wadsworth, 3rd Marine Division, was detailed to escort the remains home from Vietnam. The funeral was conducted June 9, 1969 at St. Anne’s Catholic Church at Dixon, Illinois, with internment at Oakwood Cemetery. A splendidly trained detail from Headquarters, Fifth United States Army lent added dignity to the ceremony.