The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the AIR MEDAL (Bronze Star for the First Award)
FIRST LIEUTENANT VERNON L. DUTTON
UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS RESERVE
for service as set forth in the following
"For heroic 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. Late on the afternoon of 26 August 1969, First Lieutenant Dutton launched as Copilot aboard the lead aircraft in a flight of two CH-46 transport helicopters assigned an emergency medical evacuation mission in support of a Marine unit which was heavily engaged in combat with a hostile force in a mountainous sector of Quang Nam Province. During the approach to the beleaguered unit's landing zone, his aircraft was approximately 800 feet above the valley floor when it came under an extremely heavy volume of enemy machine gun fire from commanding terrain on both sides of the valley. The intense hostile fire destroyed most of the instrument panel, damaged the entire boost system, and ignited the cabin area. Undaunted by the flames directly behind him and the heavy volume of enemy fire, First Lieutenant Dutton quickly checked to be sure that the pilot was uninjured, calmly and expertly monitored the instruments that remained, and provided a continuous flow of vital information which enabled his pilot to maneuver the helicopter to avoid trees and rough terrain and land in an open rice paddy just as the controls froze and flames began to engulf the CH-46. Rapidly leaving the burning helicopter in which ammunition was exploding, he delivered a steady volume of fire upon enemy positions in the area until the crew had exited the downed aircraft and boarded the wingman's CH-46 which had landed nearby. The last to embark, he continued to deliver suppressive fire until clear of the precarious area. 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.
After Action Report Not Found
1stLt. Vernon L. Dutton's
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