The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the SILVER STAR MEDAL to
CAPTAIN RICHARD C. KECKLER
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 operations against the enemy in the Republic of Vietnam. On 11 January 1969, Captain Keckler launched as Section Leader of a flight of two CH-46 transport helicopters assigned the emer- gency evacuation of two seriously wounded Marines from a patrol operating in Quang Nam Province. Forced to abort his first landing attempt because of intense hostile fire, he alertly detected many enemy firing positions as he climbed out of the area and transmitted their location for subsequent supporting arms fire and air strikes. When informed of the wounded Marines' critical con- dition, he refused to wait for supporting gunships, following the friendly bombardment of the hostile positions, and resolutely commenced his approach to the landing zone. Advised to wave off when he encountered an extremely heavy volume of enemy small arms and automatic weapons fire, he boldly elected to continue his mission and fearlessly maneuvered his CH-46 to a land- ing near the casualties. Undaunted by the hostile rounds impacting around him, several of which struck his aircraft, Captain Keckler steadfastly maintained his dangerously exposed position on the ground until both evacuees were embarked before lifting out of the fire-swept area. As he began to clear the area, he was informed that another Marine was seriously wounded and would require imme- diate evacuation. Skillfully coordinating his third approach with the air strikes of fixed wing aircraft, and although advised to abort his landing, he again braved intense enemy fire and maneuvered to a landing. Calmly waiting until the casualty was embarked, he then departed for the nearest medical facility. Subsequent inspection of his aircraft revealed such extensive battle damage that it was grounded. By his courage, bold initiative and unwavering devotion to duty in the face of great personal danger, Captain Keckler was instrumental in saving the lives of three Marines and upheld 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.
|Capt. Richard C. Keckler||Pilot|
|1stLt. Zebedee L. Rush||Copilot|
|Cpl. Lawrence Wallace||Crew Chief|
|LCpl. Anthony P. Ewaska||Gunner|
|Cpl. Curtis P. Knox||Gunner|
|HN Richard M. Lubin||Corpsman|
After Action Report
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