The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the DISTINGUISHED FLYING CROSS to
CAPTAIN RICHARD C. KECKLER
UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS RESERVE
for service as set forth in the following
"For heroism and extraordinary achievement in aerial flight while serving as a Pilot with Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 364, Marine Aircraft Group Thirty-Six, First Marine Aircraft Wing in connection with opera- tions against the enemy in the Republic of Vietnam. On 23 November 1968, Captain Keckler launched as Section Leader of a flight of two CH-46 transport helicopters assigned an emergency resupply mission in support of infantry units participating in Operation Meade River south of DaNang. Aware that two other aircraft had been badly damaged by enemy fire while attempting the same mission, he nevertheless departed for Hill 55, obtained a load of supplies, and directed his helicopter to the objective. Arriving over the designated area des- pite deteriorating weather conditions, he executed an approach and skillfully completed the resupply mission. Maintaining a flight pattern over the Marine position, he inquired if there were any casualties in need of medical evacuation and, upon receiving a negative reply, was preparing to depart for his base when the CH-46 was struck by intensive hostile fire and sustained extensive battle damage. Adeptly maneuvering his aircraft at a low altitude, he completed a safe landing at Hill 55, although one engine had failed during the approach to the landing zone. Captain Keckler's courage, superb aeronautical ability and un- wavering devotion to duty at great personal risk inspired all who observed him and 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.
LIEUTENANT GENERAL, U. S. MARINE CORPS
COMMANDING GENERAL, FLEET MARINE FORCE, PACIFIC
Citation provided by:
Franklin A. Gulledge, Jr., Major USMC (Ret) and,
Awards Branch, Headquarters, United States Marine Corps
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