Medal of Honor - USAF

The Medal of Honor is the highest award for valor in action against an enemy force which can be bestowed upon an individual serving in the Armed Services of the United States. Generally presented to its recipient by the President of the United States of America in the name of Congress, it is often called the Congressional Medal of Honor.

Authorized in 1956, the Air Force unveiled its own design for the Medal of Honor in 1965. About 50% larger than the other services' Medals of Honor, it retained the laurel wreath and oak leaves of the Army Medal which had previously been presented to members of the Army Air Service and Air Corps. It also retained the bar bearing the word "VALOR". Inside the circle of stars the helmeted profile of Minerva from the Army's medal is replaced by the head of the Statue of Liberty. Replacing the Army's eagle is the Air Force Coat of Arms.

Since the formation of a separate Air Force in 1947 there have been seventeen recipients. Prior to 1963 members of the Army Air Corps and the Air Force were awarded the Army Medal. In 1963 the Air Force acquired its own MOH design. There were thirteen recipients in Vietnam.

It is bestowed "for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life, above and beyond the call of duty, in actual combat against an armed enemy force."


There were three Air Rescue and Special Operations recipients during the Vietnam War.

JAMES P. FLEMING  (Link to CMOHS.org)

WILLIAM H. PITSENBARGER

GERALD O. YOUNG    (FLAK TRAP article)

Air Force Cross

The Air Force Cross was originally established by Act of Congress (Public Law 193, 65th Congress approved July 9, 1918) as the Distinguished Service Cross. Public Law 86-593, approved by Congress on July 6, 1960, amended Title 10 of the United States Code by authorizing the Air Force to present a distinctive version of the Distinguished Service Cross to Air Force recipients.

The Air Force Cross is the second highest decoration awarded by the Air Force and is given for extraordinary heroism not justifying the award of a Medal of Honor. It may be awarded to any person who, while serving in any capacity with the U.S. Air Force, distinguishes himself by extraordinary heroism (1) in action against an enemy of the United States; (2) while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force; or, (3) while serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in an armed conflict against an opposing armed force in which the United States is not a belligerent party. Like the Distinguished Service Cross, the Air Force Cross is presented in the name of the President, although the Air Force itself actually controls this award.


The Air Force Cross has been award to the following Air Rescue and Special Operations helicopter personnel:


"Global War on Terror (Afghanistan)"

*CHAPMAN, JOHN A. Technical Sergeant, U.S. Air Force, 24th Special Tactics Squadron, Date of Action: March 4, 2002.

*CUNNINGHAM, JASON D. Senior Airman, U.S. Air Force, 38th Rescue Squadron, Quick Reaction Force, Date of Action: March 4, 2002.


"Somalia"

WILKINSON, TIMOTHY A. Technical Sergeant, U. S. Air Force, 24th Special Tactics Squadron, Date of action: October 3-4, 1993.


"Mayaguez Incident"

BACKLUND, DONALD R. First Lieutenant, U.S. Air Force, 40th ARRS, Date of Action: May 15, 1975

BRIMS, RICHARD C. First Lieutenant, U.S. Air Force, 21st SOS, Date of Action: May 15, 1975

HARSTON, JON D. Staff Sergeant, U.S. Air Force, 21st SOS, Date of Action: May 15, 1975

PURSER, ROWLAND W. Captain, U.S. Air Force, 40th ARRS, Date of Action: May 15, 1975


"Southeast Asia (SEA)"

ADAMS, VICTOR R. Technical Sergeant, U.S. Air Force, 20th Special Operations Squadron, Date of Action: November 27, 1968

ALLISON, JOHN V. Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Air Force, 40th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron, 3d Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Group, Date of Action: November 21, 1970

*BALDWIN, ROBERT LANOUE Major, U.S. Air Force, E Flight, 20th Special Operations Squadron, 14th Special Operations Wing, in action in the Republic of Vietnam, Date of Action: March 31, 1967

BLACK, ARTHUR NEIL (POW) Airman Third Class, U.S. Air Force, Detachment 3, 38th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron, Tan Son Nhut Air Base, Vietnam, Date of Action: September 20, 1965

BRITTON, WARNER A. Colonel, U.S. Air Force, Date of Action: November 21, 1970

*BROWER, RALPH WAYNE (MIA) Captain, U.S. Air Force, 37th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron, Da Nang Air Base, Vietnam, Date of Action: November 09, 1967

*CLAY, EUGENE LUNSFORD Staff Sergeant, U.S. Air Force, 37th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron, Da Nang Air Base, Vietnam, Date of Action: November 09, 1967

CONRAN, PHILIP J. Major, U.S. Air Force, 21st Special Operations Squadron, 56th Special Operations Wing, Nakhon Phanom Royal Thai Air Base, Thailand, Date of Action: October 06, 1969

CURTIS, THOMAS JERRY (POW) Captain, U.S. Air Force, Detachment 3, 38th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron, Tan Son Nhut Air Base, Vietnam, Date of Action: September 20, 1965

DONOHUE, FREDERIC M. Major, U.S. Air Force, Date of Action: November 21, 1970

EPPINGER, DALE Major, U.S. Air Force, 20th Special Operations Squadron, Nha Trang Air Base, Vietnam, Date of Action: April 21, 1969

ETZEL, GREGORY A. M. Captain, U.S. Air Force, 37th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron, 3d Air Rescue and Recovery Group, Da Nang Air Base, Vietnam, Date of Action: July 2 & 3, 1967

FIRSE, JOHN A. Captain, U.S. Air Force, Detachment 5, 38th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron, Udorn Royal Thai Air Base, Thailand, Date of Action: June 11, 1967

FISH, MICHAEL E. Sergeant, U.S. Air Force, 38th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron, Tan Son Nhut Air Base, Vietnam, Date of Action: February 18 & 19, 1969

GONZALES, LEONARD A. Major, U.S. Air Force, 20th Special Operations Squadron, Nha Trang Air Base, Vietnam, Date of Action: November 26, 1968

GREEN, JOE B. Major, U.S. Air Force, 37th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron, 3d Air Rescue and Recovery Group, Da Nang Air Base, Vietnam, Date of Action: March 30, 1968

GRIGGS, JERRY M. Major, U.S. Air Force, 37th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron, 3d Air Rescue and Recovery Group, Da Nang Air Base, Vietnam, Date of Action: March 30, 1968

GRUVER, JOHN C. Captain, U.S. Air Force, 20th Special Operations Squadron, Nha Trang Air Base, Vietnam, Date of Action: March 21, 1967

HACKNEY, DUANE D. Airman Second Class, U.S. Air Force, 37th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron, Da Nang Air Base, Vietnam, Date of Action: February 06, 1967

HUNT, RUSSELL M. Sergeant, U.S. Air Force, E Flight, 20th Special Operations Squadron, 14th Special Operations Wing, in action in the Republic of Vietnam, Date of Action: March 31, 1967

KALEN, HERBERT D. Major, U.S. Air Force, Date of Action: November 21, 1970

KENNEDY, LELAND T. (First Award) Captain, U.S. Air Force, Detachment 5, 38th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron, Da Nang Air Base, Vietnam, Date of Action: October 05, 1966

KENNEDY, LELAND T. (Second Award) Captain, U.S. Air Force, 38th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron, Da Nang Air Base, Vietnam, Date of Action: October 20, 1966 (AF Magazine)

*KING, CHARLES DOUGLAS (MIA) Airman First Class, U.S. Air Force, 40th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron, Nakhon Phanom Royal Thai Air Base, Thailand, Date of Action: December 25, 1968

*MARTIN, DUANE WHITNEY (POW/Died while attempting to escape) First Lieutenant, U.S. Air Force, Detachment 3, 38th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron, Tan Son Nhut Air Base, Vietnam, Date of Action: September 20, 1965

*MAYSEY, LARRY WAYNE (MIA) Sergeant, U.S. Air Force,37th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron, Da Nang Air Base, Vietnam, Date of Action: November 09, 1967

McGRATH, CHARLES D. Sergeant, U.S. Air Force, 40th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron, Nakhon Phanom Royal Thai Air Base, Thailand, Date of Action: June 27, 1972

McTASNEY, JOHN B. Captain, U.S. Air Force, 37th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron, Da Nang Air Base, Vietnam, Date of Action: November 8, 1967

NEWMAN, THOMAS A. Sergeant, U.S. Air Force, 40th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron, Nakhon Phanom Royal Thai Air Base, Thailand, Date of Action: May 30, 1968

O'MARA, OLIVER E. Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Air Force, 38th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron, Da Nang Air Base, Vietnam, Date of Action: October 05, 1966. Read a great story of this gentleman's service to his country.

OLSEN, DON P. Major, U.S. Air Force, 37th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron, 3d Air Rescue and Recovery Group, Da Nang Air Base, Vietnam, Date of Action: October 5, 1968

ORRELL, BENNIE D. Captain, U.S. Air Force, 40th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron, Nakhon Phanom Royal Thai Air Base, Thailand, Date of Action: April 13, 1972

RICHARDSON, DENNIS M. Sgt, U.S. Air Force, Date of Action: March 14, 1968. (CMSgt Retired Richardson was awarded The Air Force Cross on April 5, 2008)

ROBINSON, WILLIAM ANDREW (POW) Airman First Class, U.S. Air Force, Detachment 3, 38th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron, Tan Son Nhut Air Base, Vietnam, Date of Action: September 20, 1965

*SCHANEBERG, LEROY CLYDE (MIA) Captain, U.S. Air Force, 40th Aerospace Rescue & Recovery Squadron, Udorn Air Royal Thai Air Base, Thailand, Date of Action: June 30, 1970

*SCOTT, TRAVIS HENRY, JR. Captain, U.S. Air Force, 37th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron, Da Nang Air Base, Vietnam, Date of Action: April 15, 1970

SMITH, DONALD G. Technical Sergeant, U.S. Air Force, 37th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron, Da Nang Air Base, Vietnam, Date of Action: October 24, 1969

STOVALL, DALE E. Captain, U.S. Air Force, 40th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron, Nakhon Phanom Royal Thai Air Base, Thailand, Date of Action: June 1 - 2, 1972

TALLEY, JOEL E. Airman, U.S. Air Force, 37th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron, Da Nang Air Base, Vietnam, Date of Action: July 02, 1968

WOFFORD, TRAVIS Major, U.S. Air Force, 37th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron, 3d Air Rescue and Recovery Group, Da Nang Air Base, Vietnam, Date of Action: April 15, 1970

*WOOD, PATRICK HARDY (MIA) Major, U.S. Air Force, 38th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron, Tan Son Nhut Air Base, Vietnam, Date of Action: February 06, 1967

WRIGHT, LEROY Technical Sergeant, U.S. Air Force, Date of Action: November 21, 1970

YORK, GLEN P. Major, U.S. Air Force, Date of Action: July 18, 1967

*Indicates Posthumous Awards (Also includes recipients KIA after their AFC Award)
NOTE: The AFC originally awarded Airman 1/c William Pitsenbarger was upgraded to the Medal of Honor on Dec 8, 2000. That AFC is not included in this list.

NOTE: Dennis M. Richardson was awarded the Air Force Cross on 5 April 2008, 40 years after the fact.

This section is for those members who desire to document their stories that support the various decorations they were presented by our Government as recognition for a job well done. Sharing of these stories will document for later generations to read and understand what it was like during those times and the routine tasks that often were not routine. In reality one would have had to been there to fully understand.

Medals


Art Brand

Bill Crawford

Hank Fannin

Harvey Meltzer

James Cockerill

James (J.D.) Adams

Jim Burns

Jim Moore

John Lindgren

Ralph Graves

Integrity, Honor, and Respect
Some of the best things cannot be bought, they must be earned

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