The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting a gold star in lieu of the third DISTINGUISHED FLYING CROSS to
FIRST LIEUTENANT CHARLES J. SCHOENER
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 Sixteen, First Marine Aircraft Wing in connection with combat operations against the enemy in the Republic of Vietnam. On 4 November 1969, First Lieutenant Schoener launched as Section Leader of a flight of two CH-46 transport helicopters assigned the emergency medical evacuation of two seri- ously wounded Marines from a unit which was heavily engaged in combat with a hostile force in an area of the Que Son Mountains approximately twenty miles southwest of DaNang. Arriving over the designated area, he found that the landing zone was located on the top of a hill, was surrounded by seventy-five foot tall trees, and that adverse weather conditions of a low ceiling varying from 200 to 300 feet, rain showers, and strong winds which gusted to 25 knots per hour would severely restrict visibility and his area of maneuverability over the rugged mountain terrain. Undeterred, First Lieutenant Schoener boldly maneu- vered his aircraft to a landing among the tree stumps and muddy bomb craters, maintained his precarious position until the casualties were placed aboard, and then departed for Landing Zone Baldy. Despite deteriorating weather condi- tions, he elected to attempt the extraction of two more wounded Marines from another infantry unit operating in the Que Son Mountains. Proceeding to the beleaguered unit, First Lieutenant Schoener was informed that the Marines had been receiving intense small arms and automatic weapons fire from a well- entrenched enemy force along a ridge line overlooking the landing zone. Skillfully coordinating his approach with the fire of supporting gunships, he commenced his descent to the landing zone and had reached an altitude of 200 feet when he came under an extremely heavy volume of hostile fire. Undaunted by the intensity of the enemy fire and the difficulty of maneuvering his CH-46 over the hazardous terrain under exceptional adverse weather conditions, First Lieutenant Schoener resolutely continued his approach and skillfully executed a partial hover with his rear wheels touching the ground. With complete disregard for his own safety, he steadfastly remained in his dangerous position until the wounded Marines were embarked and then safely departed the area. First Lieutenant Schoener'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 the United States Naval Service."
FOR THE PRESIDENT
/s/ H. W. Buse, Jr.
H. W. BUSE, JR.
Crew of YK-21
|1stLt. Charles J. Schoener||Pilot|
|1stLt. Jared J. Welch||Copilot|
|MGySgt. Dennis T. Rhodes||Crew Chief|
|SSgt. Leroy M. King||Gunner|
|Sgt. Thomas J. "Ham" Hamblen||Gunner|
|Cdr. Melvin Lederman (USN)||Doctor|
|HM First? Cote||Corpsman|
After Action Report
Wingman's After Action Report
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