Marine Corporal Michael Windsor Tripp was awarded the Navy Commendation Medal for his valor when his helicopter was shot down at An Hoa on May 14, 1967. This put him in the unlikely location of Peace Church, where his crew and the ground troops, under heavy fire, sought refuge. A transcript follows:
The Secretary of the Navy takes pleasure in presenting the NAVY COMMENDATION MEDAL to
UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS
For heroic achievement while serving with Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 363, Marine Aircraft Group Sixteen, First Marine Aircraft Wing in connection with operations against the enemy in the Republic of Vietnam. On the evening of 14 May 1967, Corporal TRIPP launched as Crew Chief aboard a UH-34D helicopter on an emergency medical evacuation mission in support of a Marine company which was heavily engaged with an enemy force south of Con Thien. Upon arriving at the pickup zone, the helicopter landed and three casualties were placed aboard the aircraft. As the pilot lifted out of the zone, enemy fire seriously damaged the rudder control and caused the helicopter to spin out of control toward the ground.
In order to prevent the casualties from being thrown from the aircraft, Corporal TRIPP unhesitatingly blocked the doorway with his own body and after the helicopter had come to rest in the landing zone, immediately moved the wounded to a position of relative safety. He then removed the weapons, ammunition and medical supplies and distributed them to the ground forces whose supply of ammunition was dangerously low. Disregarding his own safety, Corporal TRIPP ran through the hostile fire, fearlessly climbed on top of the disabled aircraft and, with the assistance of his gunner, folded the rotor blades to clear the small landing zone for subsequent medical evacuation aircraft. When the helicopters landed, he again exposed himself to enemy fire to assist in embarking casualties aboard the aircraft.
Throughout the night, he steadfastly remained in a fighting position on the defensive perimeter and as a result of his affective suppressive fire, was instrumental in repulsing several vicious enemy assaults. On the following morning, he returned to the downed helicopter and destroyed classified equipment which could not be removed with available tools and thus denied their possible use by the enemy. Only after assuring himself that the casualties sustained during the night had been evacuated, did he board an extraction helicopter and return to Dong Ha. His heroic and timely actions were an inspiration to all who observed him and contributed significantly to the accomplishment of his unit's mission.
By his courage, exceptional professionalism and selfless devotion to duty in the face of extreme personal danger, Corporal TRIPP upheld the finest traditions of the Marine Corps and of the United States Naval Service.
Corporal TRIPP is authorized to wear the Combat "V".
For the President,
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