The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the SILVER STAR MEDAL to
FIRST LIEUTENANT WILLIAM A. BEEBE II
UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS RESERVE
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 Sixteen, First Marine Aircraft Wing in connection with combat operations against the enemy in the Republic of Vietnam. On the afternoon of 8 April 1969, First Lieutenant Beebe launched as Aircraft Commander of a CH-46 transport helicopter assigned the emergency medical evacuation of a casualty from a nine-man Marine reconnaissance team which was heavily engaged in combat with a large North Vietnamese Army force deep in enemy-controlled territory in Quang Nam Province. Arriving over the designated area and learn- ing that the outnumbered Marines were moving with the wounded man toward a river, he resolutely elected to attempt the extraction of the entire team and, skill- fully maneuvering his aircraft to avoid the tall trees, established a hover with a portion of his CH-46 submerged in the river. Unable to break contact with the hostile force, the Marines fought their way to the river's edge and began wading out to the helicopter while continuing to return fire on the enemy. When the mechanism to lower the ramp malfunctioned, First Lieutenant Beebe dipped the rear of the aircraft into the current so that the open hatch above the ramp would be accessible. While his aerial gunners provided covering fire and the flight surgeon and crew chief jumped into the chest-deep water to assist the team aboard, First Lieutenant Beebe expertly manipulated his controls and skillfully maintained his difficult hover until all the Marines were aboard. When the water inside the helicopter caused its nose to suddenly pitch into the air as he was lifting out of the river, endangering the passengers who started to fall toward the ramp opening, he resolutely fought and regained control of the air- craft before any of the Marines had fallen out. Although his aircraft's rotor blades were cutting tree branches and water was draining from the fuselage, he lifted safely out of the perilous area and proceeded to the nearest medical facility. By his courage, superior aeronautical ability, and unwavering devotion to duty in the face of great personal danger, First Lieutenant Beebe was instru- mental in saving the lives of his fellow Marines and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and of the United States Naval Service."
FOR THE PRESIDENT
H. W. Buse, Jr.
H. W. BUSE, JR.
Crew of YK-5 & YK-8
|1stLt. William A. Beebe||Pilot|
|1stLt. Jeffry D. Monaghan||Copilot|
|Cpl. Ernesto Gomez||Crew Chief YK-5|
|Cpl. John W. Allen||Crew Chief YK-8|
|SSgt. J. L.Wood||Gunner|
|LCpl. Lewis C. Gruber||Gunner|
|Lt. (MC) USN Clay E. Linkous||Flight Surgeon|
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