"Uncle Frank's" Tongue in Cheek DFC

Published at the insistence of  Gene "Papa Fox" Brady,  Dave "Maker of Heroes" McSorley,
 Joseph P. "Private Investigator/Legal Beagle" Donovan and  Gail "Foxy Lady" Gulledge.
The events unfold during a trip to attend a memorial service for four Purple Foxes killed in Iraq.

COMCIVPACLANTCONUS takes extreme pleasure in presenting the



for service as set forth in the following 


      "For heroism and extraordinary achievement in aerial flight while serving with  MARINE MEDIUM HELICOPTER SQUADRON,  CIVILIAN ARM in connection with humanitarian operations against the enemy, Gravity, in New Mexico.  On 28 May 2003,  Uncle Frank launched as Pilot of a Piper Warrior on a mission,  (Disguised as  an extended  cross country  flight experience for his  fledgling  co-pilot, (Chase Cardin),  to  perform  high  altitude  mountain flying. 
      While flying at  2500 feet AGL, with an 8500 foot Density Altitude, Uncle Frank experienced a sickening feeling brought about by  the catastrophic loss of the #1 cylinder pushrod at the valve lifter impact surface.  Instantaneously assaulted  by  the enemy  force, Gravity,  which caused an  immediate  loss of 500  feet,  Uncle Frank  skillfully  turned  his  wounded  Piper  Warrior in the direction of  Zuni Pueblo,  New Mexico.   He  steadfastly  coaxed  the  failing aircraft,  battled the continuous loss of altitude, and suffered the meddling of well  wishers and  do-gooders on  the  radio as he valiantly  flew  his  crippled steed to the only safe landing place, Black Rock Airport. 
      Uncle Frank  was  asked  by Albuquerque Center  if he needed  any safety equipment on landing.   In his usual straightforward manner he answered,  "I am a Marine dammit!   I'll get this plane down,  even if I have to land short." Undaunted by  the throes and assaults of Gravity and a disintegrating engine, he  bravely  and  resolutely maneuvered  his aircraft over  23 miles of  hostile terrain and,  with only a few feet of altitude left to spare,  he safely landed his aircraft.   Thus,  he saved  not only a valuable  U. S. Marine asset,  (his butt), but  also  the  less  valuable  hide  of  his civilian  co-pilot.   Additionally,  his superior  judgment  and  outstanding  airmanship  were   responsible  for  the preservation of an expensive aircraft.
      Uncle Frank  immediately  made  sure  his aircraft  was secured before he transitioned  to  an  earthly  conveyance  in  order  to  complete  his  mission. Without  concern for  his low level  beer light  and in  spite of a  sweaty flight suit,   he  drove  straight  through  to  California.    Upon  arriving  at  Camp Pendleton,   he  presented  all  "Purple  Fox"  Marines  with  mementos  that heightened the warrior camaraderie and finely tuned "Purple Fox" Squadron Spirit.   By  virtue of his superb  airmanship,  strength of character, and bold initiative he  was able to  provide inspiration  and comfort to  his assiduously attentive  co-pilot,  Chase Cardin,  who witnessed his  unselfish  dedication to landlocked duty.   Uncle Frank's courage,  superior aeronautical ability,  and selfless transportation skills displayed in the face of great personal "Pranger" were  in  keeping with  the highest  traditions of the  Marine Corps and of the United States Naval Service."


Commanding Officer Emeritus
Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 364
"Purple Foxes"



Chase Cardin's undaunted calmness during the incident were in keeping with the traits of all good co-pilots.  He steadfastly monitored the gauges, tuned the communication and navigation radios, assisted in going through the trouble shooting procedures for a failing engine and was constantly referring to the map to determine the least dangerous landing spots (there weren't many) should we not have made it to the Black Rock Airport.

Both Ernesto "Gooie" Gomez and Chuck Harrell seriously admonished Uncle Frank.  They both said if he had a good crew chief on board it wouldn't have happened.  Possibly correct, they are both excellent crew chiefs.

How did we and the airplane get back to Kentucky?  Well, that's another long story.

These were the two culprits.

"Uncle Frank"

Information provided by:
    Chase "Valiant Co-pilot" Cardin
    Dave "Hero Maker" McSorley
    Joseph P. "Private Investigator/Legal Beagle" Donovan
    Eugene R. "Papa Fox" Brady
    Gail "Foxy Lady" Gulledge

Maj Gulledge's History Index

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