The President of the United States
takes pleasure in presenting the
CAPTAIN RICHARD L. BIANCHINO
UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS
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 14 April 1969, Captain Bianchino launched as Copilot aboard the lead aircraft in a flight of CH-46 transport helicopters assigned the emergency medical evacuation of seriously wounded Marines from an area south of DaNang. During the approach to the landing zone, the aircraft came under intensive hostile fire from several direc- tions which extensively damaged its vital components and caused it to crash land through a triple jungle canopy and burst into flames. Thrown from the transport and rendered temporarily unconscious, Captain Bianchino quickly recovered and found his left arm broken in three places and his face and arms severely lacerated. After painfully forcing his arm into the front of his survival vest, using it as a sling, he quickly assessed the situation. Observing one of his crew members pinned beneath the burning wreckage, he extricated the casualty and pulled him clear of the crash site, extinguishing the man's flaming clothing as he did so. Boldly ignoring the ammunition exploding about the helicopter as a result of the intense heat, he then searched for other survivors and, locating another injured man lying beneath the fiercely burning aircraft, pulled his companion to a safe location and put out the flames which threatened to engulf him. Exhausted from his exertions and the excruciating pain of his own wounds, Captain Bianchino collapsed, although he did not lose consciousness. Several minutes later, he heard helicopters overhead and, realizing the need to signal the location of the crash area to the rescuers, removed three regular rounds from his pistol and inserted three flare rounds with his teeth, discharging them through the jungle canopy when he heard the aircraft again pass over his position. Dur- ing the subsequent recovery operation, the weather rapidly deteriorated and, fearing that gusty winds buffeting the CH-46 would force the pilot to abort the mission, Captain Bianchino steadfastly refused to be evacuated until all other casualties were safely embarked. His heroic and determined efforts inspired all who observed him and were instrumental in saving the lives of several Marines. By his courage, selfless concern for his fellowmen and unwavering devotion to duty in the face of grave personal danger, Captain Bianchino upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and of the United States Naval Service."
FOR THE PRESIDENT
/s/ H. W. Buss, Jr.
W. W. BUSS, JR.
Click below for a related narrative.
YK-5 Destroyed on "Charlie Ridge"
Citation provided by:
Franklin A. Gulledge, Jr., Major USMC (Ret.) and,
Awards Branch, Headquarters, United States Marine Corps
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