Hall of Fame
Sergeant Major Richard Junior Nail has exemplified himself by serving in the United States Special Forces, both on active duty and inactive duty with the Search, Evade, Resist and Escape program that trains and prepares future Special Forces Soldiers the skills needed if captured by enemy forces. Throughout his career, he has boasted of being a country boy from a small town (Lafferty) in Arkansas. He is very proud of his military accomplishments and credits that to his upbringing in Arkansas where he was taught honesty, hard work, loyalty and service to others.
While serving in the Republic of South Vietnam, he was seriously wounded on March 17th, 1969 and medically evacuated to Japan and later to Walter Reed Hospital where he remained for eight months. He lost his left eye and one kidney as a result of hostile fire on that day. In addition, he remains with shrapnel in his right foot. Upon release from Walter Reed he was assigned to Fort Bragg. Once he arrived, he was required to undergo a special Medical Board to determine if he could return to active Special Forces Duty. Being a proud Razorback, Sergeant Major Nail pleaded with the board to allow him to return to duty to do what he loved. He felt a strong conviction of his debt to his country and fellow Green Berets. His wish was granted and he became a team Sergeant with Company C, 3rd Battalion, 5th Special Forces Group Airborne. During his assignment as a team Sergeant, he led his team on missions to Berlin, Germany, Jordan, Turkey and Greece. In 1983, Sergeant Nail retired from the US Army. He was preparing to move his family to Houston Texas to accept employment; however, in 1984, he was approached by Colonel Rowe who asked him to join in a new innovative approach to training special forces recruits as a civilian instructor ( the program got its name SERE from search, evade, resist and Escape) components of the course that today all young Special Forces Recruits must satisfactorily complete. It stands out as one of the toughest parts of Special Forces training. Throughout his 53 years of service, you can always hear Sergeant Nail boasting of his roots in Arkansas.
On 7th June 1966 Sergeant Nail received the Bronze Star Medal with “V” device for actions in Vietnam. The narrative of that award reads as follows: For heroism in connection with military operations against a hostile force: Staff Sergeant Nail distinguished himself by exceptionally valorous actions on 7th June 1966, in the Republic of Vietnam. When his battery was attacked by an overwhelming Viet Cong Force, Sergeant Nail fearlessly exposed himself to heavy enemy fire and grenades in order to place direct howitzer fire on the enemy. He acted with calm courage when he personally dove on an enemy grenade which had landed between two of his men and threw it from the parapet before it could explode. Recognizing that his men were running low on ammunition, he braved intense enemy fire to reach the ammunition bunkers and resupply his section. After several enemy weapons had been captured, Sergeant Nail used one of the Viet Cong rifles to kill three more insurgents, repeatedly exposing himself to enemy fire in order to do so. Sergeant Nail’s Devotion to duty and personal courage were in keeping with the highest traditions of military service, and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.
Sergeant Major Nail of Lafferty served three tours in Vietnam with the 5th Special Forces Group and was inducted into the Special Forces Regimental Hall of Fame. Among his awards are three Bronze Star Medals for Valor, the Purple Heart Medal, and the Meritorious Service Medal.