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Deputy City Attorney Honored with Silver Star

Veterans who experienced Hill 881 South call it the worst day of their lives

By R. Stickney
|  Friday, Sep 20, 2013  |  Updated 1:23 PM PDT
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Joe Cordileone was honored for his actions when his company attacked Hill 881 South during the Battle of Khe San in 1967.

Joe Cordileone was honored for his actions when his company attacked Hill 881 South during the Battle of Khe San in 1967.

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Cordileone Receives Silver Star

Vietnam veteran and San Diego Chief Deputy City Attorney Joe Cordileone was awarded a Silver Star for heroism during an event Friday.
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Vietnam veteran and San Diego Chief Deputy City Attorney Joe Cordileone was awarded a Silver Star for heroism during an event Friday at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego.

Cordileone was honored for his actions when his company attacked Hill 881 South during the Battle of Khe San in 1967. The battle was recorded as one of the worst of the Vietnam War.

Surrounded by the enemy, then-PFC Cordileone exposed himself to enemy snipers to advance and recover the wounded. He was credited with saving the lives of 10 Marines.

“I accept this award on behalf of every single Marine and corpsman who went up Hill 881. If one of us earned it, all of us did,” he said.

Cordileone served as a rifleman with Company M, 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marines, 3rd Marine Division.

Also honored Friday, Robert T. Moffatt received the Bronze Star Medal with Combat "V' for his actions in the same battle.

As an assistant machine gunner, Moffatt suffered severe head wounds providing protective fire for his fellow Marines.

Moffatt said he accepted the award in the memory of 27 Marines who made the ultimate sacrifice.

“It was such an honor to serve with the best,” he said.

Their actions went unnoticed for more than 45 years because of the heavy loss of Marine and corpsmen including key leaders.

It was only after many reunions and gatherings, that a former platoon commander investigated and submitted the recommendation for recognition for Marines like Cordileone and Moffatt.

Moffatt, a Riverside County resident, worked as a senior cost estimator and quality control supervisor for a Navy ship facility until his retirement.
 

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