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Today's Medal of Honor Moment for 25 May

There is only one Medal awarded for actions on this day. Vietnam, 1971.  And he was a local boy to the Castle.
*ADAMS, WILLIAM E.

Rank and organization: Major, U.S. Army, A/227th Assault Helicopter Company, 52d Aviation Battalion, 1st Aviation Brigade. Place and Date: Kontum Province, Republic of Vietnam, 25 May 1971. Entered Service at: Kansas City, Mo. Born: 16 June 1939, Casper, Wyo. Citation: Maj. Adams distinguished himself on 25 May 1971 while serving as a helicopter pilot in Kontum Province in the Republic of Vietnam. On that date, Maj. Adams volunteered to fly a lightly armed helicopter in an attempt to evacuate 3 seriously wounded soldiers from a small fire base which was under attack by a large enemy force. He made the decision with full knowledge that numerous antiaircraft weapons were positioned around the base and that the clear weather would afford the enemy gunners unobstructed view of all routes into the base. As he approached the base, the enemy gunners opened fire with heavy machine guns, rocket-propelled grenades and small arms. Undaunted by the fusillade, he continued his approach determined to accomplish the mission. Displaying tremendous courage under fire, he calmly directed the attacks of supporting gunships while maintaining absolute control of the helicopter he was flying. He landed the aircraft at the fire base despite the ever-increasing enemy fire and calmly waited until the wounded soldiers were placed on board. As his aircraft departed from the fire base, it was struck and seriously damaged by enemy anti-aircraft fire and began descending. Flying with exceptional skill, he immediately regained control of the crippled aircraft and attempted a controlled landing. Despite his valiant efforts, the helicopter exploded, overturned, and plummeted to earth amid the hail of enemy fire. Maj. Adams' conspicuous gallantry, intrepidity, and humanitarian regard for his fellow man were in keeping with the most cherished traditions of the military service and reflected utmost credit on him and the U S. Army.

Major William's crew and passenger went down with him that day, it's only right to remember them too, this Memorial Day weekend.

Crew Members:
CPT CURRAN JOHN DEHAAS KIA
SP4 LITTLETON JOHN WAYNE KIA
SP4 ROBINSON MELVIN KIA
SP4 DURAND DENNIS CHARLES KIA

And while I exalt no casualty over another - this was a very bad day for Specialist Littleton: SP4 John Wayne Littleton was crew chief on 67-17760 for CPT Larry Dewey, member of the 92nd Avn Co. He survived this shoot down and crash of 67-17760 that killed CPT Dewey and SP4 Lubbehusen then escaped and evaded to Firebase 5 where he was rescued by MAJ Adams in 69-15704. 69-15704 was then shot down killing all on board.

The extra data (and the link in the citation) comes from the Vietnam Helicopter Pilot's Association website.
 
*Indicates a posthumous award.

1 Comments

I witnessed this one. His company was called Chickenman after the famous radio comedy serial and he, of course, was Chickenman 6. Firebases 5 and 6 near Dak To were under attack by 3 NVA Regiments supported by an antiaircraft regiment. Several aircraft had tried and failed to make the pickup. It just wasn't going to happen, the fire was too intense.

Chickenman 6 was having none of it. He turned his aircraft toward the firebase and made an approach. They landed, picked up the 3 wounded soldiers, and pulled pitch. He came off the hilltop and immediately dived toward the valley floor to pick up airspeed. They were hit in the rotor mast by a radar directed 57mm shell, inverted and crashed into the mountain.

At the going down of the Sun, and in the morning, we will remember him.