The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the DISTINGUISHED FLYING CROSS to
FIRST LIEUTENANT VERNON L. DUTTON
UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS RESERVE
for service as set forth in the following
"For heroism and extraordinary achievement in aerial flight 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 the afternoon of 25 August 1969, First Lieutenant Dutton launched as Copilot aboard the lead aircraft in a flight of two CH-46 transport helicopters assigned the emergency mission of helilifting reinforcements to a Marine unit which was heavily engaged in combat with a large North Vietnamese Army force north of Landing Zone West Quang Nam Province. After his flight embarked its first increment at Landing Zone Baldy and proceeded to the designated area, he resolutely ignored the intense hostile fire directed at his aircraft as he skillfully monitored his instruments and equipment, assisted at the controls, and provided a continuous flow of vital information which enabled his pilot to coordinate his approach with the fire of support- ing gunships, land in the fire-swept area, debark the Marines, and lift out of the hazardous zone. Following the successful insertion of the second and third increments without serious resistance, his pilot responded to an urgent request to extract thirty-four Marines, including four casualties, who were isolated from their unit and in imminent danger of being overrun by a numerically superior hostile force which had managed to gain positions to the unit's front and on both flanks. Undaunted by darkness and the extremely heavy volume of North Vietnamese fire, First Lieutenant Dutton maintained continuous communication with supporting gunships, alertly located and reported the sources of enemy fire, directed the suppressive fire of his aerial gunners, and provided precise clearance data which enabled his CH-46 to extract the casualties to the medical facility at Landing Zone Baldy. When informed that his flight was responding to an urgent request to resupply the embattled Marine unit with ammunition, he braved the intense hostile fire for the fifth time that day as he calmly and skillfully aided his pilot in delivering a double external load of vitally needed ammu- nition. First Lieutenant Dutton's courage, superior airmanship, and unwavering devotion to duty in the face of great personal danger were in keeping with 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.
Crew of YK-14
|1stLt. Larry W. Britton||Pilot|
|1stLt. Vernon L. Dutton||Copilot|
|Sgt. Ralph D. Miller||Crew Chief|
|Cpl. Larry L. Lawrence||Gunner|
|Cpl. Ivan L. Sage||Gunner|
After Action Report
1stLt. Vernon L. Dutton's History Index
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