Richard Fitts was born on February 23, 1946, in Weymouth, Massachusetts. He enlisted in the U.S. Army on January 18, 1966, and completed basic training at Fort Dix, New Jersey, in April 1966. Fitts then completed Advanced Infantry Training at Fort Gordon, Georgia, in June 1966, and airborne training in July 1966. After completing Special Forces Medical Specialist Training and Special Forces Engineer Training at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, SP5 Fitts served as a Demolition Specialist with Company B, 6th Special Forces Group at Fort Bragg from March 1967 to August 1968. He then deployed to Southeast Asia, where he served as a Demolition Specialist with the Military Assistance Command Vietnam Studies and Observation Group of the 5th Special Forces Group in South Vietnam from September 1968 until he was killed in action in Laos on November 30, 1968. SP5 Fitts was officially listed as Missing in Action until being declared dead on January 15, 1975, during which time he had been promoted to Staff Sergeant. His remains were returned to the United States on March 26, 1989, and he was buried at Mount Vernon Cemetery in Abington, Massachusetts, with some of his remains buried in a mass grave at Arlington National Cemetery.
His Bronze Star Medal Citation reads:
Staff Sergeant (then Specialist Five) Richard A. Fitts distinguished himself by outstanding meritorious achievement in connection with ground operations against a hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam on 30 November 1968. Through his untiring efforts and professional ability, he consistently obtained outstanding results. He was quick to grasp the implications of new problems with which he was faced as a result of the ever changing situations inherent in a counterinsurgency operation and to find ways and means to solve those problems. The energetic application of his extensive knowledge has materially contributed to the efforts of the United States Mission to the Republic of Vietnam to assist that country in ridding itself of the communist threat to its freedom. Staff Sergeant Fitts' initiative, zeal, sound judgement and devotion to duty have been in he highest tradition of the United States Army and reflect great credit on him and on the military service.