The Distinguished Flying Cross


              The President of   the  United  States  takes  pleasure  in  presenting  the DISTINGUISHED FLYING CROSS to



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  the afternoon of 27  July  1970,  Captain  Blades  launched  a  Section  Leader  of  a  flight of two CH-46  transport  helicopters  assigned  the  emergency  ladder  extraction  of  a Marine  reconnaissance  team which had  sustained two casualties  while  heavily engaged  in  combat  with a  hostile force in a densely-jungled mountainous area south of DaNang.  Arriving over  the designated area,  he was informed that  the beleaguered  patrol was located  in a small  ravine surrounded by tall trees.   Un- daunted  by  the  lack  of  supporting  aircraft  to  provide  covering  fire and the intensity of the enemy automatic weapons fire directed at his helicopter, Captain Blades boldly maneuvered his  transport to a hover above a small opening in the dense jungle canopy and fearlessly remained in his precarious position  while the ladder was being lowered to the ground.   Despite the temporary malfunction  of the  communication  system  between  the cockpit  and  the cabin, hostile rounds which penetrated the  cockpit,  a ramp whose controls  became  inoperable,  and the need to  lower his helicopter down among the trees in order for the ladder to reach the Marines,  he resolutely maneuvered  his aircraft  until  it was  at a level which the ladder could touch the ground.  Although his aft rotor blades struck a tree,  causing  intense  vibration, Captain  Blades  skillfully  manipulate his  con- trols to maintain  a hover until  the vibration  stopped and  until all members  of the  reconnaissance  team  had  attached  themselves to the ladder.  Ignoring the heavy  volume  of  enemy fire,  he expertly  lifted out of  the dangerous area and proceeded to  Landing Zone Ross  where  he  safely  lowered the  Marines to  the ground.  Captain Blades' courage,  superior airmanship,  and unwavering  devo- tion to duty in the face of great personal  danger were  instrumental  in  accomp- lishing the hazardous mission and were  in keeping with the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and of the United States Naval Service."


/S/ Wm. K. Jones


After Action Report

After Action Report Reproduced

Pilot Capt. Arthur C. Blades 
Copilot 1stLt. David J. Owens
Crew Chief Cpl. John W. Allen
Gunner Rank? J. E. Logan
Gunner Cpl. Wayne G. Strahan
- .
Itinerary Remarks
- .
MMAF Departed Marble Mountain at 1242
AT903433 Extracted 6 man recon team
AT874475 Delivered team to An Hoa Combat Support Base, picked up another team
AT958752 Flip flopped 6 man recon team at this field position
AT874475 Returned 6 man team to An Hoa CSB, loaded extract ladder & 1 Marine
AT971395 Emergency ladder extract of 6 man team, suffered blade damage
BT025345 Delivered all to LZ Ross, shut aircraft down for rotor blade replacement

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

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