Ted Rule - 1st Lieutenant

Rank: 1st Lieutenant
Date Of Birth: Mar 24, 1943
Date Of Death: Nov 29, 1968
War / Conflict: Vietnam
Hometown: Cresco, Iowa
Gold Star Hall - Wall Location: Northeast Wall (by Entrance Door)
Service Ribbons Awarded:
  • Silver Star
  • Bronze Star with V (for valor)
  • Army Commendation Medal with V (for valor)
  • Purple Heart
  • Viet Nam


Ted Rule was, by all accounts, an exceptional person and friend. His high school credentials were impressive and the impact he had upon his classmates was evident 50 years later when 50 percent of those still surviving contributed funds to purchase the statue “Little Soldier Boy” in his honor. At the unveiling ceremony for the statue in 2011 in Cresco, he was characterized by childhood friend, Larry Walters, as “a true friend who was always there when you needed a helping hand or a swat on the rear“.

Ted was born March 24, 1943 in Marshalltown, Iowa. His family then moved to the Waterloo area. There, he and his friend, Larry Walters, served as candle lighters and ushers for the Methodist Church and were members of the Bennington Boosters 4-H Club. They also were part of a hay baling crew that “filled most of the barns in the area several times over”. 

The family then moved to the Lime Springs area and Ted attended Crestwood High School in Cresco, Iowa.   

In high school, Ted’s leadership was evident by the number of varsity sports and student organizations in which he participated. His leadership abilities were confirmed by the number of officer roles he filled. His involvement included basketball, football, track, Class Play, Student Council, band, Annual yearbook staff, Boys Glee Club, Mixed Chorus, wrestling and Speech. 

Following high school, Ted attended Iowa State University for three years where he was in ROTC for two years and worked as head waiter for the Sigma Chi Fraternity House. He enlisted in the Army in 1968 and graduated from Ranger school in Fort Benning, Georgia in October 1968. Earlier that year, on March 9, 1968, he married Mary Ellen Shindler at Fort Ord, Monterrey, California. He was then deployed to Viet Nam, arriving on November 7, 1968.

When he arrived in Viet Nam, he was a First Lieutenant serving as an Infantry Unit Commander with A Company, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Infantry, 1st Infantry Division. The 1st infantry, also known as the “Big Red One” was stationed north and west of Saigon to secure the approaches to the capital city. 

On November 29, 1968, Ted Rule’s unit was, as the official report stated, “engaged in military operations involving conflict with an armed hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam”, north of Loc Ninh, Phuoc Long Province. “…Serving as a platoon leader with his mechanized company” and advancing ”…toward an enemy base camp from which it was receiving enemy fire. Lieutenant Rule directed his men’s movement from atop an armored personnel carrier. When an insurgent bunker halted the advance of his element, Lieutenant Rule disregarded his personal safety and maneuvered through the hail of hostile rounds toward the fortification. He then threw several hand grenades into the emplacement which killed its occupants and destroyed the structure. Lieutenant Rule mounted his track and while moving toward another bunker, he was mortally wounded by a rocket-propelled grenade." 

Just as he had been recognized for his leadership abilities throughout his life, prior to his death Ted was awarded the Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal, Combat Infantryman Badge, Sharpshooter Badge with automatic rifle and rifle bars, Marksman Badge and Ranger Tab.

For his actions at Loc Ninh, Lieutenant Rule was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star Medal, Army Commendation Medal, the Purple Heart and The Silver Star for gallantry in action. The award of the silver star citation states, “His courageous initiative and heroic determination were instrumental in killing several North Vietnamese soldiers, and significantly contributed to the successful accomplishment of his unit’s mission. First Lieutenant Rule’s unquestionable valor in close combat against numerically superior hostile forces is in keeping with the finest traditions of the military services and reflects great credit upon himself, the 1st Infantry Division, and the United States Army."

At the dedication of the “Little Soldier Boy” statue in Cresco, his friend John Kramer stated, “When he died, he went in style – doing his job the best he knew how. There isn’t a man in this room, if given a choice of how he was to leave this earth, would choose any other way – doing the best he knew how”.