The Navy Cross



--------WASHINGTON, D. C. 20350


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


for service as set forth in the following


                           For  extraordinary heroism 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 1 June 1970,  Corporal Skweres  launched as  an Aerial Gunner aboard a  transport helicopter assigned the medical evacuation of several  Marine casualties  who had been extensively wounded  by enemy  mines. Arriving  over  the designated location,  he observed that, when the tall elephant grass was parted by the downdraft  from the  rotor blades,  the  entire  field  was literally seeded with  mines.  Despite this extreme hazard,  Corporal Skweres un- hesitatingly  volunteered to execute  a  bold  and  imaginative  plan  whereby  he would be lowered on the hoist,  wait on the spot while a wounded man was lifted to the  aircraft and then board the hoist  to be moved to where  the next casualty lay.  For approximately an hour, Corporal Skweres  valiantly  moved  from  one stricken  man  to  another  in  performing his  rescue  mission.  With  the  fall  of darkness, it  was necessary  to utilize the exterior lights to aid in his examination of the casualties and he thus became a vulnerable  target for automatic  weapons and  rocket propelled  grenade fire which  enemy soldiers delivered  from several different directions.  Undaunted by  this additional adversity, he steadfastly con- tinued his determined efforts with  calm deliberation until all casualties had been embarked  and the transport helicopter  was directed toward the nearest medical facilities  at DaNang.  By his courage,  inspiring initiative, and  unfaltering devo- tion to duty  in the face of grave  personal danger, Corporal Skweres was instru- mental in accomplishing  an extremely dangerous  lifesaving mission and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and of the United States Naval Service.

                                                                                   For the President

                                                                                    /s/ John H. Chafee

                                                                                    Secretary of the Navy


Additional narratives relating to this incident:

1stLt. David S. "Frenchy" Legas (Pilot), Silver Star citation

Sgt. Kenneth V. Sawyer (Crew Chief) DFC citation

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

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