Nicholas “Nick” H. Grosz, Jr. was born on 3 July 1940 in Brooklyn, New York to Nicholas and Helen Grosz. He was a 1958 graduate of Hackensack High School where he lettered in football and baseball. He attended the University of Rhode Island where he was a football player for four years and a member of Phi Gamma Delta Fraternity. During his freshman and sophomore years, he participated in the Army ROTC Program and spent two summers in the USMC Platoon Leaders Course in Quantico, Virginia. He graduated in June 1962 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Physical Education and was commissioned as a Reserve Second Lieutenant, United States Marine Corps.
In 1962, LT Grosz was assigned to the Fleet Marine Force at Camp Pendleton, CA, where he deployed to Okinawa and then to the Republic of South Vietnam to train the Vietnamese Marines. He received a regular commission in June 1965 while serving in Vietnam with the First Marine Division, 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment. It was during this combat assignment that he was awarded the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry in May 1965. He received a Purple Heart for wounds sustained during his second combat tour and was awarded the Bronze Star with Combat “V” for valor. He was awarded a Bronze Star in July 1970 for combat action during his third tour of duty in Vietnam.
First Lieutenant Grosz was awarded the Navy Cross, our nation’s second-highest decoration for valor, for extraordinary heroism while serving as Commanding Officer of Headquarters and Service Company, Second Battalion, Seventh Marines, in the Republic of Vietnam, on 18 December 1965, during Operation Harvest Moon:
Citation – Navy Cross
The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to First Lieutenant Nicholas H. Grosz, Jr., United States Marine Corps, for extraordinary heroism as Commanding Officer of Headquarters and Service Company, Second Battalion, Seventh Marines, First Marine Division in the Republic of Vietnam on 18 December 1965, during Operation Harvest Moon in Quang Tin Province.
When savage small arms, automatic weapons and mortar fire pinned his company down in a muddy and exposed rice paddy, completely ignoring his own safety, he repeatedly ran the gauntlet of intense enemy fire to personally evacuate four wounded Marines. He returned to his men and gave them encouragement as he rallied them and directed their fire toward Viet Cong positions. In order to permit a few of the lesser wounded to make their way to relative safety while a rifle company was coming to the rescue, He personally engaged automatic weapons with a grenade launcher while enemy rounds were striking his pack and equipment.
After returning to make certain that none of his men were left behind, he finally made his way to the main battle position and organized his company to support the battalion in its subsequent mopping up operations. By his daring actions, indomitable fighting spirit, and loyal devotion to duty in the face of great personal danger, Lieutenant Grosz reflected distinct credit upon himself and the Marine Corps and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.
After returning from Vietnam in 1966, Colonel Grosz had numerous command and staff assignments culminating as the Commanding Officer, 27th Marines. His final military assignment was in Washington, DC, where he served as Director, Human Resources Division, HQMC. He was awarded the Legion of Merit upon his retirement in February 1990.
Colonel Grosz immediately stepped into his new role as Assistant Vice-President, and then Vice President, for Membership of the Navy Mutual Aid Association, which serves members of the five sea services and their families. His faithful and distinguished service to our country continued without interruption until his retirement in 2003.
Nick and his wife Lori reside in Fairfax, Virginia and have been and continue to be supportive and active in URI Alumni affairs in Washington, DC, and at Kingston. Colonel Nicholas Grosz has served URI, the United States Marine Corps and America with honor and courage.