Military Order of the Purple Heart

Texas Capital Chapter 1919 Austin, Texas





Patriot, Chapter 1919

 (NAVY, Vietnam) Article August 1996

Arthur Mann was in the “Brown Water Navy”, and the engineer aboard the type of small river patrol boat made famous in the movie “Apocalypse Now”.  He earned a Silver Star along with his three awards of the Purple Heart. Here is that story in brief. 

In 1967 and 1968, Arthur Mann was assigned to the ARMY-NAVY MOBILE RIVERINE FORCE, RIVER DIVISION NINE, RIVER ASSAULT FLOTILLA ONE (CTF117). Almost everyone in Vietnam simply knew them as the "Riverine Force". Petty Officer Arthur Mann was the En­gineer on Assault Support Patrol Boat 91-3, that operated on the waterways of the Mekong Delta and the Rung Sat Special Zone, and was variously based at Dong Tam and My Tho, while supporting the Army 9th Infantry Division, Navy Seals and Marine Recon Teams. 

Arthur was first wounded on the night of February 1, 1968, at the beginning of TET. He received a second award of the Purple Heart from wounds received on March 18, 1968, and he was wounded a third time on May 8, 1968. The following is excerpted from his Citation for the Silver Star and describes Ar­thur Mann's actions during the engagement following which he also received his third award of the Purple Heart.




The Silver Star


"...... ASPB 91-3, with Petty Officer Mann as Engineer, was conducting strike operations on the Song Ba Lai, in support of Army units. As the assault craft was proceeding to the beaching area, a large Viet Cong unit opened fire with rocket, recoilless rifle, automatic weapons and small arms fire from positions at the water line. ASPB 91-3 was hit by the initial volley of enemy fire which disabled the radios and the control panel, and caused the disabled craft to crash into the beach directly in front of the enemy positions. When the first enemy round rocked the boat Petty Officer Mann was knocked from his feet and tossed from alongside the conning station over ten feet to the stern of the boat. The detonation sprayed him with shrapnel and inflicted numerous wounds on his arms, leg and hand. He immediately regained his footing and made his way through the wreckage to the coxswain's flat where he found the craft out of control and the crew dazed and wounded. While offering words of encouragement, he helped the coxswain reman the helm and aided him as he vainly fought to bring the boat under control. At this time he spotted the boat captain lying gravely wounded on the exposed bow of the boat. Ignoring his own wounds and the continuous heavy enemy fire, he rushed onto the open bow and pulled the boat captain to safety amid a hail of fire. Petty Officer Mann then quickly and effectively administered first aid to the wounded man. He then rushed into the open to provide covering fire with an M-16 rifle and M- 79 grenade launcher for another assault craft coming alongside to assist. His fire helped to disrupt the enemy fire so that his damaged craft could be successfully towed from the ambush site. His quick and decisive actions were directly responsible for saving the life of the Boat Captain and in reducing further casualties....His courage under fire was in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service."



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