The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the SILVER STAR MEDAL to
MAJOR JAMES RICHARD PARSONS
UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS
for service as set forth in the following
"For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action while serving as a Pilot with Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 364, Marine Aircraft Group Thirty-Six, First Marine Aircraft Wing in connection with oper- ations against the enemy in the Republic of Vietnam. On the night of 4 February 1968, Major PARSONS launched as the Aircraft Commander of a CH-46 transport helicopter assigned an emergency medical evacuation mission in support of a Marine unit which had sustained seventeen casualties during an engagement with the enemy in Hue City. Although visibility was well below that considered safe for helicopter flights, he volunteered to attempt the hazardous mission upon learning that several of the casualties required immediate medical attention. Utilizing a radar monitored departure and precision tracking enroute, he arrived over the area and descended through the cloud layer. Unable to locate the landing zone due to the adverse weather conditions, he immediately climbed above the overcast and requested another vectored approach. Directed back to the site, his aircraft was hit by enemy .50 caliber machine gun fire as it descended through the clouds, forcing him to abort his approach and depart the area. Although his aircraft again came under hostile ground fire during a third approach into the designated landing zone, Major PARSONS, refusing to abort the mission, resolutely descended through the thick overcast and made visual contact with the landing zone on his fourth approach. Disregarding the enemy fire directed at his aircraft, he skillfully avoided numerous small buildings in the area which were barely discernible in the thick fog and safely landed in the designated landing zone which was located behind a two-story building. After calmly remaining in the hazardous area for approximately ten minutes while the casualties were embarked, Major PARSONS utilized a radar controlled vector to safely depart the hazardous area and transport the wounded to the medical facility at Phu Bai. His exemplary airmanship and sincere concern for his fellow Marines were an inspiration to all who served with him and contributed significantly to the accomplishment of the hazardous mission. By his courage exceptional aeronautical skill and steadfast devotion to duty at great personal risk, Major PARSONS upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and of the United States Naval Service."
FOR THE PRESIDENT
/S/ H. W. Buse, Jr.
H. W. BUSE, JR.
After Action Report
|YK-17||Supporting the 1st Marines|
|Pilot||Maj. James R. Parsons|
|Copilot||Capt. Ernest J. Kun||Photo|
|Crew Chief||Sgt. James D. Shelton (KIA 02-05-68)||Photo|
|Gunner||SSgt. Denis T. Kearney|
|Gunner||SSgt. R. L. Lewis|
|Corpsman||HM1 David R. Nelson|
|Phu Bai||Departs at 2100 under very poor weather conditions|
|YD772221||Picked up 17 emergency medevacs in Hue City|
|Phu Bai||Delivers 17 wounded, mission complete at 2215|
Citation and After Action Report Provided By:
Franklin A. Gulledge, Jr., Major USMC (Ret) and,
Headquartes, United States Marine Corps
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