Ted Risher was born on September 23, 1942, in Ridgeland, South Carolina. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy on March 8, 1961, and completed basic training at NTC Great Lakes, Illinois, in June 1961. Risher next attended Aviation Structural Mechanic A School at NAS Norfolk, Virginia, from June 1961 to December 1962, followed by Underwater Demolition Team Replacement training with Class 029 (East Coast) at NAB Little Creek, Virginia; Naval Station Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico; and Naval Base Key West, Florida, from December 1962 to June 1963. His first assignment was with Underwater Demolition Team 22 (UDT-22) at NAB Little Creek from June 1963 to January 1967, and then with SEAL Team TWO at NAB Little Creek from January to December 1967. Petty Officer Risher then deployed to Southeast Asia with SEAL Team TWO from December 1967 until he was killed in action in South Vietnam on January 31, 1968. Ted Risher was buried at Hampton National Cemetery in Hampton, Virginia.
His Silver Star Citation reads:
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action on 31 January 1968 while serving as a key member of SEAL Team TWO, Detachment ALFA, 8th Platoon in the Republic of Vietnam. When the city of Chau Phu, Republic of Vietnam, was taken under heavy Viet Cong attack, Petty Officer Risher's platoon was placed within the city limits and began a systematic liberation of key government buildings. During this period, the platoon was pinned down by heavy automatic-weapons fire. Petty Officer Risher exposed himself to this heavy enemy fire in the process of climbing to a rooftop to secure a position for a 57 recoilless rifle. During this action, he engaged the enemy in heavy battle from an adjacent rooftop, fighting ferociously in order to protect his fellow team members. By his heroic efforts, the firing position was established, eight Viet Cong were killed, and one more building was liberated of Viet Cong control. Petty Officer Risher's courageous actions were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.