|------THE COMMANDANT OF THE MARINE CORPS|
The President of the United States
takes pride in presenting the DISTINGUISHED FLYING CROSS posthumously
MAJOR LEONARD R. DEMKO
for service as set forth in the following
For heroism and extraordinary achievement in aerial flight as Aircraft Commander of a UH-34 transport helicopter with Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 364, in the Republic of Vietnam on the evening of 19 November 1967. While returning to its base after a search and rescue mission in support of a large helicopter borne assault force, Major Demko's helicopter was diverted to an emergency medical evacuation mission in support of a Marine rifle company. He arrived over the designated area and approached the landing zone. Just prior to landing, his aircraft came under intense enemy automatic weapons fire and was directed away from the site by the ground force. Orbiting over An Hoa and establishing radio contact with the Marine unit, Major Demko was informed that the wounded Marines were being moved to the landing zone. Then, after an hour, he was requested to return to the hazardous area for the evacuation. In complete darkness and guided by a single strobe light, he skill- fully landed in the zone as a heavy volume of tracer fire passed just above the rotor blades of his aircraft. Embarking six wounded Marines, he lifted from the site and, effectively utilizing the terrain as cover from the hostile fire, moved beyond range of the enemy's weapons before gaining altitude for the return flight to a medical facility. His exceptional ability and determined efforts were an inspiration to all who served with him and were instrumental in accomp- lishing the hazardous mission. Major Demko's courage, superb airmanship and unswerving devotion to duty at great personal risk were in keeping with the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.
For the President
/S/ L. F. Chapman, Jr.
Commandant of the Marine Corps
Citation provided by:
Franklin A. Gulledge, Jr., Major USMC (Ret) and,
Awards Branch, Headquarters United States Marine Corps
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