The Silver Star


               The  President  of  the  United  States  takes  pleasure in presenting the SILVER STAR MEDAL to



for service as set forth in the following


                              "For  conspicuous  gallantry  and  intrepidity  in action 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 evening of  21 October 1969,  Corporal Sawyer  launched  as  Crew Chief  aboard  the  lead aircraft in a flight of two CH-46 transport  helicopters assigned the  mission  of  inserting  an eleven-man reaction force to reinforce a seven-man Marine reconnaissance team which had sustained five casualties while heavily engaged in combat with a num- erically  superior  hostile  force  approximately   twenty-one  miles  southwest  of DaNang. When extremely adverse weather conditions prevented the insertion, he alertly  observed  and  reported  the  position  of  other  aircraft  in  the area and encouraged  the  passengers aboard  his CH-46  during  the seven hours  his heli- copter orbited the area while awaiting the clouds to dissipate enough to permit a landing.  At  that  time,  the weather had  cleared sufficiently  to  enable another aircraft to insert an eight-man reconnaissance team which,  shortly after landing, sustained  six  casualties.   Undaunted  by  the  intensity of  the enemy automatic weapons fire directed  at his CH-46,  Corporal Sawyer calmly and skillfully  pro- vided a continuous flow of vital clearance information which enabled his pilot to avoid  obstacles  in the area  and maneuvered  to a landing.   After  the  reaction force debarked,  he completely  disregarded his  own safety as  he boldly  left his aircraft  and  fearlessly  moved  across  the hazardous area  infested  with enemy mines to assist in carrying the six wounded Marines  to his helicopter.   After  he provided clearance  data as his pilot lifted   out of the perilous zone,  his aircraft proceeded to the medical facility at DaNang.  Upon his return to the beleaguered Marines, Corporal Sawyer  ignored the extremely heavy volume of hostile fire as he  expertly provided  precise  clearance data  during several  approaches  to  the ground  unit  before he  located an opening  in the  thick cloud cover and guided his  CH-46  to a  landing.   For  a second time,  he left  the  relative safety of  his aircraft  as  he valiantly braved the enemy  fire  and  boldly  moved on  repeated trips across the heavily mined area to aid  in carrying the remaining five  casual- ties to his helicopter and  placing them aboard.  His  aircraft  then  departed  the perilous are for DaNang.  By his courage, bold initiative, and  unwavering devo- tion to duty  in the face of great personal danger,  Corporal  Sawyer was  instru- mental in saving the lives of several of his fellow Marines and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and of the United States Naval Service."


/s/ Wm. K. Jones


Crew of YK-21

1stLt. John R. Harris Pilot
1stLt. David K. Schmitz Copilot
Cpl. Kenneth V. Sawyer Crew Chief
LCpl. Gary Roberts Gunner
Cpl. Henry B. Parsons, III Gunner

After Action Report

Citation and After Action Report provided by:
    Franklin A. Gulledge, Jr., Major USMC (Ret.) and,
    Headquarters, United States Marine Corps

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