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Alfred C. Montrem, Lt. Colonel, USAF (Retired)April 30, 1935 – September 06, 1994
Alfred Montrem was born on April 30, 1935, in Schenectady, New York. He enlisted in the U.S. Air Force Reserve on January 20, 1953, and entered the Aviation Cadet Program of the Air Force on April 10, 1957, earning his commission as a 2nd Lt. and his pilot wings on July 23, 1958. Lt. Montrem next completed Helicopter Pilot Training at Stead AFB, Nevada, in March 1959, followed by service as a helicopter pilot with the 7272nd Air Base Wing at Wheelus AB, Libya, from April 1959 to April 1961. He served as a helicopter pilot with the Lowry Technical Training Center at Lowry AFB, Colorado, from May 1961 to August 1965, and then as an instructor helicopter pilot with the 3637th Flying Training Squadron and 3630th Flying Training Wing at Sheppard AFB, Texas, from August 1965 to September 1967. Capt. Montrem next served as an HH-53 Super Jolly Green Giant pilot with Detachment 2 of the 37th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron (ARRS) at Udorn Royal Thai AFB, Thailand, from September 1967 to March 1968, followed by service with the 40th ARRS at Udorn from March to September 1968. He served as an HH-53 pilot and instructor pilot with the 48th ARRS at Eglin AFB, Florida, from September 1968 to February 1969, and then with the Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Training Center at Eglin AFB from February 1969 to December 1970. During this time, Maj Montrem served as Copilot of the HH-53 “Apple One” during the Son Tay Raid, a clandestine mission to rescue American Prisoners of War in North Vietnam on November 21, 1970. His next assignment was as an HH-53 pilot with the 44th ARRS at Patrick AFB, Florida, from December 1970 to November 1971, followed by service as an HH-53 pilot with the 67th ARRS at RAF Woodbridge, England, from November 1971 to November 1973, and later as Chief of the Operations and Training Branch with the 41st Rescue and Weather Reconnaissance Wing at McClellan AFB, California. His final assignment was at McConnell AFB, Kansas, where he retired from the Air Force on November 1, 1981.
Alfred Montrem died on September 6, 1994, and was buried at the Florida National Cemetery in Bushnell, Florida.
His 1st Silver Star Citation reads:
The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress July 9, 1918 (amended by an act of July 25, 1963), takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star to Captain Alfred C. Montrem, United States Air Force, for gallantry in connection with military operations involving conflict with an armed hostile force as Rescue Crew Commander of a helicopter in Southeast Asia on 11 March 1968. On that date, Captain Montrem, flying his HH-53B rescue helicopter participated in the evacuation of a forward operating site which was under heavy attack and partially overrun by hostile forces. Despite intense automatic weapons and small arms fire, he landed his aircraft at the helicopter pad and successfully evacuated 32 friendly personnel, many of whom were wounded. Later in the day, after the site had been completely overrun, he returned to the area and carefully searched for survivors. He found and evacuated six more personnel from the beleaguered outpost. By his gallantry and devotion to duty, Captain Montrem reflected great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.
His 2nd Silver Star Citation reads:
Major Alfred C. Montrem distinguished himself by gallantry in connection with military operations against an armed enemy of the United States during the Prisoner of War search and rescue operation at Son Tay, North Vietnam, on 21 November 1970. On that date, Major Montrem, as a pilot of a helicopter carrying part of the ground rescue party, flew deep into the heart of enemy territory in a bold night attempt to rescue American Prisoners of War. Although exposed to enemy ground fire which included numerous surface-to-air missiles, Major Montrem successfully penetrated these defenses. With gunners laying down suppressive fire, the United States Army Special Forces were placed in position to assault the camp. With complete disregard for his own safety, he maintained a position to provide assistance and immediate evacuation upon completion of the assault. The personal skill and extreme courage displayed by Major Montrem in this very hazardous rescue attempt contributed immeasurably to the ultimate effectiveness and tactical success of the mission. By his gallantry and devotion to duty, Major Montrem has reflected great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.
His 1st Distinguished Flying Cross Citation reads:
The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 2, 1926, takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Flying Cross to Captain Alfred C. Montrem, United States Air Force, for extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight as Rescue Crew Commander of an HH-53B in Southeast Asia on 8 February 1968. On that date, Captain Montrem and his crew successfully recovered an F-4C crewmember who had been forced to eject because of battle damage to his aircraft. In spite of the fact that the bail-out location was close to a road often used by hostile forces, the recovery effort was pressed with determination and superior airmanship by Captain Montrem. The professional competence, aerial skill, and devotion to duty displayed by Captain Montrem reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.
His 2nd Distinguished Flying Cross Citation reads:
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