The Secretary of the Navy takes pleasure in presenting the NAVY UNIT COMMENDATION to
MARINE AIRCRAFT GROUP SIXTEEN
for service as set forth in the following
For exceptional meritorious service in connection with operations against enemy forces in the Republic of Vietnam, from 20 November 1968 to 13 August 1969. Throughout this period, the officers and men of Marine Aircraft Group 16 responded gallantly to the almost overwhelming task of providing sustained combat air support to the Free World Military Forces in the I Corps Tactical Zone. Their efforts encompassed building, maintaining, and improving the camps and airfields; providing vital ordnance, fuel, aircraft maintenance, and air traffic control support at dispersed sites for the seven aircraft models possessed by the Group; and furnishing the necessary airborne mobility to enable the Free World Military Forces to probe the enemy's sanctuaries, pursue, engage, and destroy him. Operating continuously, and participating in such operations as MEADE RIVER, HENDERSON HALL, TAYLOR COMMON, PIPESTONE CANYON, OKLAHOMA HILLS, and DURHAM PEAK, Marine Aircraft Group 16 conducted around-the-clock missions in all but the most severe weather and was frequently subjected to intense antiaircraft fire. Both flight and ground crews continually distinguished themselves by transporting troops and battle-essential cargo, evacuating casualties, illuminating and maintaining visual and electronic surveillance over battlefields, controlling high-performance fixed-wing attack aircraft, and providing close suppressive fires from armed helicopters. The Group flew in excess of 71,000 hours and 199,000 combat sorties during this period, and transported 303,613 troops and 33,575 tons of cargo. Additionally, 22,897 casualties were evacuated by helicopter, often in the face of intense hostile opposition. Exhibiting aggressive spirit, superior aeronautical skill, outstanding professionalism, and gallantry under fire, the personnel of Marine Aircraft Group 16 inspired all Free World Military Forces in the I Corps area. Their unyielding courage and unfailing devotion to duty reflected great credit upon themselves and the Marine Corps, and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.
/s/ John H. Chafee
Secretary of the Navy
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