The Navy Cross

Ceremony Invitation
Altazan Navy Cross PDF file.
Louisiana State Honor
Louisiana State Honor PDF file.

Altazan TV Interview.

The Story from The Advocate.

Crew of YK-3

1stLt. Joseph P. Donovan Pilot
1stLt. Jeffry D. Monaghan Copilot
Sgt. Kenneth A. Altazan Crew Chief
Cpl. Donald M. Chamberlin Gunner
LCpl. Stephen C. Lovelady Gunner
HN John L. VanDamme Corpsman

After Action Report


The March 2003 issue of the Marine Corps Gazette published an article which recounts the medical evacuation giving rise to Sergeant Altazan receiving the Silver Star medal for his actions on 9 May 1969.  Sergeant Altazan was wounded during this mission and was the last medevac delivered to a medical facility that day.  Further, it was the last mission that Sergeant Altazan flew with the Purple Foxes.

The article is titled:

Sting of Battle
It can be viewed by clicking here.
Acrobat Reader (.pdf format) is required.
It is available free if you don't already have it installed.

The Silver Star


                The  President  of the United States takes  pleasure  in  presenting  the SILVER STAR MEDAL to



for service as set forth in the following


                                 "For conspicuous gallantry  and intrepidity  in action while serving with Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 364,  Marine Aircraft Group Sixteen,  First Marine Aircraft Wing in connection with combat  operations against the enemy in the Republic of Vietnam.    On  9  May  1969,  Sergeant Altazan  launched  as  Crew Chief  aboard the  lead  aircraft  in  a  flight  of  two CH-46 transport  helicopters assigned  the emergency  medical evacuation of ten casualties from a  Marine company which was heavily engaged  in combat with a large North Vietnamese Army  force near the  village of  MY Hiep (3)  in  Quang Nam  Province.   Arriving  over  the  designated  area,  he  was informed that the wounded Marines were  located  in  five  separate positions  scattered  about  the open  rice paddies and that  the proximity of  the  opposing forces precluded the delivery of suppressive  fire by supporting aircraft.   Undaunted by the extremely heavy volume of  enemy small arms and  automatic weapons  fire directed at his helicopter,  Sergeant Altazan  alertly  located and reported the sources of hostile fire, provided a continuous flow of vital clearance information  as his CH-46 was air-taxied  at  low altitude  above the rice  paddies to each of the casualty collection points, and then  assisted in embarking  the wounded  Marines.   When  his aircraft  landed  in  the  fifth  zone,  he saw that  one  of the  casualties would be unable to move unless assisted.   With complete disregard for  his  own  safety, Sergeant  Altazan  boldly  leaped  from  his  helicopter,  ran  to  the  side  of  the wounded man, lifted him to his shoulders,  and fearlessly moved back across the fire-swept  terrain  toward his  CH-46,  all  the while assisting  another evacuee across the perilous open  area.   When he fell under the  weight of  his wounded comrade, he wrenched his knee but quickly  rose to his  feet and,  despite excruciating pain,  resolutely limped the remaining distance to the helicopter with his heavy  load.   His bold  initiative and selfless concern  for  his  fellow  Marines inspired  all  who observed  him  and  were instrumental  in  accomplishing the hazardous mission.   By his courage,  superior professionalism, and  unwavering devotion  to duty in the face of  great personal danger,  Sergeant Altazan upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and of the United States Naval Service."


/s/ H. W. Buse, Jr.


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