*Humbert Roque “Rocky” Versace

5th Special Forces Group (Airborne)

 


MAAG-Vietnam (Military Assistance Advisory Group, Vietnam) 1955-64

Medal of Honor

Recipient

President Bush signed the Defense Authorization Bill, Friday, December 28, 2001.  The award of The Medal of Honor to CPT Roque (Rocky) Versace was part of the Bill.  The Presentation Ceremony took place at the White House, 8 July 2002.

  

Capt. Humbert Roque “Rocky” Versace

5th Special Forces Group, 1st Special Forces

Republic of Vietnam

Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his own life above and beyond the call of duty, while held captive by the communist National
Liberation Front (Viet Cong) In the Republic of Vietnam during the period of
29 October 1963 to 26 September 1965.  Captain Versace was executed by the
enemy for his steadfast refusal to betray God, country and his fellow
prisoners.  He lies buried in an unmarked jungle grave known only to God in
Vietnam.

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Johnny Cox attended the 12 Jul 99 ceremony in Sarasota, FL, in which the Special Forces presented to Rocky Versace’s mother a Special Forces tab and a certificate of induction into the First Special Forces Regiment. MG Kenneth R. Bowra, who heads the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center at Ft. Bragg, made the presentation. 


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Capt. Humbert Roque “Rocky” Versace, captured by the Viet Cong in 1963, and executed in 1965. 


Captain Humbert Rocque (Rocky) Versace is inducted into the Ranger Hall of Fame for extraordinary valor and unyielding determination as a United States Army Ranger. In October 1963 CPT Rocky Versace was a U.S. Army MAAG intelligence advisor assigned to support Province forces (Civil Guard and Self Defense Forces) operating in An Xuyen Province (IV Corps) in the Mekong Delta region of South Vietnam. On October 29, CPT Versace made a liaison visit to the Special Forces team A-23 camp at Tan Phu to exchange intelligence reports on enemy activities in the area. A determination was made to launch an attack against VC forces in the area. Captain Versace accompanied the attacking CIDG force with Special Forces Team members 1st LT Nick Rowe and SFC Dan Pitzer. Captain Versace was seriously wounded while helping to cove the withdrawal of CIDG forces in the face of a determined and very heavy Viet Cong Main Force attack. At the point CPT Versace, LT Rowe, and SFC Pitzer as well as the CIDG forces were almost out of ammunition. Captain Versace had seven rounds left in his carbine and was about to charge the Viet Cong in one last valiant effort to stop there pursuit when he was wounded. Lieutenant Rowe and SFC Pitzer were also wounded and all three captured buy the Viet Cong. Though suffering from a badly wounded and infected leg, and barely able to see when his glasses were taken from him, CPT Versace assumed the position of Senior American Prisoner and demanded that the Viet Cong treat the American prisoners in accordance to Geneva Convention protections. He protested \vehemently when the VC cadre refused to recognize them as "prisoners of war" but treated them instead as "war criminals", subject to the whims of individual cadre to decide matters of life and death. For his vociferous protestations against their barbarous and sub-human treatment, CPT Versace was placed in a locked isolation box and brutally treated and tortured. Captain Versace willingly sacrificed his life by focusing all the anger of the VC cadre on him instead of LT Rowe and SFC Pitzer so that they might have a better chance to survive. He refused to violate the Code of Conduct and lived the tenets of the Ranger Creed. Captain Versace told his captors that he was willing to accept death rather than compromise the Code of Conduct and the ideas of Duty, Honor, and Country. his unshakeable belief in God sustained him throughout his 2-year captivity until his death,.

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