Tag Archives: Air Force Cross

Air Force Cross, Major Leonard A. Gonzales, United States Air Force.

Air Force Cross
Air Force Cross
Lieutenant Colonel Leonard A. Gonzales, U.S. Air Force.

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Title 10, Section 8742, United States Code, takes pleasure in presenting the Air Force Cross to Major Leonard A. Gonzales (AFSN: 2227075), United States Air Force, for extraordinary heroism in military operations against an opposing armed force as Aircraft Commander of a UH-1F gunship helicopter of the 20th Special Operations Squadron, Nha Trang Air Base, Vietnam, in action near Duc Co, Republic of Vietnam, on the night of 26 – 27 November 1968. On that date, Major Gonzales went to the aid of a six-man Special Forces Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol that was in danger of being overrun by a large, well-armed hostile force. Major Gonzales made continued minigun and rocket passes at treetop level, even after his wingman had been hit. His aggressive attacks sufficiently quelled the hostile fire to allow a transport helicopter to pick up the beleaguered patrol. Through his superb airmanship, aggressiveness, and extraordinary heroism, Major Gonzales reflected the highest credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.

Action Date: November 26 – 27, 1968

Service: Air Force

Rank: Major

Company: 20th Special Operations Squadron

Division: Nha Trang Air Base, Vietnam

For a more detailed account, see:

http://www.vhpa.org/KIA/panel/battle/68112600.HTM

Two U.S. Air Force UH-1P Hueys of the 20th Special Operations Squadron, the "Green Hornets." (U.S. Air Force)
Two U.S. Air Force UH-1P Hueys of the 20th Special Operations Squadron, the “Green Hornets.” 65-7929 is closer to camera. The second Huey is 63-13162. Both helicopters are armed with two door-mounted M93 7.65 mm “miniguns” systems: electrically-driven M134 rotary machine guns capable of a 4,000 round-per-minute rate of fire. On each side of 7929 are 7-tube rocket launchers for 2.75-inch (70 mm) FFAR rockets. (Captain Billie Dee Tedford, United States Air Force)
Aviation Cadet Leonard A. Gonzales, 1952. (Santa Maria Times)

Leonardo Armando Gonzales was born 30 August 1929 at San Gabriel, California. He was the youngest of three children of Joaquin Luevanos Gonzales, a salesman, and Aurora Martinez Gonzales. Leonard attended Santa Maria Union High School in Santa Maria, California, graduating 5 June 1947.

Gonzales began his college education at Santa Maria Junior College, where he earned an associate of arts (A.A.) degree. He then transferred to the California Polytechnic College at San Luis Obispo, California.

Gonzales enlisted in the U.S. Air Force, 9 November 1950. Private First Class Gonzales was trained as a radio technician at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois. He was then appointed an aviation cadet, 12 March 1952. Gonzales was commissioned a second lieutenant 14 January 1953. He entered B-29 Superfortress Combat Crew Training as an aircraft observer.

Lieutenant and Mrs. Leonard A. Gonzales. The bride is the former Miss Mavi Gonzales. (Santa Maria Times)

On 12 April 1953, Lieutenant Gonzales married Miss Mavi Gonzales, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Refugio Gonzales, at St. Mary’s Church in Santa Maria. They would have six daughters.

After flight training at Forbes Air Force Base, Kansas, and Malden Air Force Base, Missouri, Lieutenant completed his Air Force pilot training at Webb AFB, Big Spring, Texas in August 1954. Lieutenant Gonzales then entered training as a fighter interceptor pilot.

Lieutenant Gonzales served with the 4th Fighter Interceptor Squadron, Misawa Air Base, Japan, from February 1957 to July 1960. The squadron was equipped with the North American F-86D Sabre. Additional duty assignments were to Grifiss Air Force Base, New York, Wiesbaden Air Base, Germany, and Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.

In February 1968, Major Gonzales completed conversion training as a helicopter pilot, and was assigned to the 20th Special Operations Squadron. He was rated a Senior Pilot, with more than flight 4,000 hours

20th Special Operations Squadron UH-1P Hueys refueling at Dak To. (Don Joyce/VHPA.org)

Reassigned to the 4392d Aerospace Support Group at Vandenberg Air Force Base in May 1969, Lieutenant Colonel Gonzales was presented the Air Force Cross by Major General William C. Garland, commander, 1st Strategic Aerospace Division, in a ceremony at Vandenberg, 6 November 1969.

Lieutenant Colonel Gonzales retired from the U.S. Air Force in 1971. In addition to the Air Force Cross, he had been awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross with four oak leaf clusters (five awards), and the Air Medal with ten oak leaf clusters (eleven awards). The Republic of Vietnam had awarded him its Vietnam Cross of Gallantry on two occasions, and the Silver Star with Palm.

Leonard Gonzales had continued his pursuit of higher education. He earned a bachelor of arts degree in political science from the University of Maryland; a master of arts degree in education counseling from Chapman College; masters degree in public administration from California State University Bakersfield, and was pursuing a doctorate in economics.

Lieutenant Colonel Leonard A. Gonzales, United States Air Force (Retired), died in Santa Maria, California, 13 March 2017, at the age of 81 years. He was buried at the Santa Maria Cemetery.

© 2018, Bryan R. Swopes

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Air Force Cross, Sergeant Larry Wayne Maysey, United States Air Force

"That Others May Live." Bronze sculpture of Sergeant Larry Wayne Maysey, United States Air Force, by Wayne Hyde. The memorial is located on Main Street, Borough of Chester, New Jersey. (© Sheena Chi)
“That Others May Live.” Bronze statue of Sergeant Larry Wayne Maysey, United States Air Force, by Wayne Hyde. The memorial is located on Main Street, Borough of Chester, New Jersey. (© Sheena Chi)

 AIR FORCE CROSS

Awarded posthumously for actions during the Vietnam War

Sgt. Larry W. Masey
Sergeant Larry W. Maysey, Rescue Specialist, United States Air Force

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Title 10, Section 8742, United States Code, takes pride in presenting the Air Force Cross (Posthumously) to Sergeant Larry Wayne Maysey (AFSN: 12751422), United States Air Force, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an opposing armed force as an HH-3E Rescue Specialist (Pararescueman) of the 37th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron, 3d Air Rescue and Recovery Group, DaNang Air Base, Vietnam, in Southeast Asia on 9 November 1967. On that date, Sergeant Maysey attempted the night extraction of a ground reconnaissance team after his helicopter had been severely damaged. Two other helicopters had been shot down and a third extensively damaged in previous attempts. During the rescue attempt, Sergeant Maysey unhesitatingly exposed himself to the hail of hostile fire to assist wounded survivors into the helicopter. The hostile forces closed in quickly, and as the damaged helicopter departed, it was shot down. Though his extraordinary heroism, superb airmanship, and aggressiveness in the face of the enemy, Sergeant Maysey reflected the highest credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.

Action Date: 9-Nov-67

Service: Air Force

Rank: Sergeant

Company: 37th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron

Regiment: 3d Air Rescue and Recovery Group

Division: DaNang Air Base, Vietnam

Air Force Cross
Air Force Cross

Larry Wayne Maysey was born 18 November 1946 in the Borough of Chester, new jersey. he was the son of Charles and Charlotte Maysey. He attended West Morris High School, graduating in 1965.

After graduating from high school, Larry Maysey enlisted in the United States Air Force, and was selected for training as a Pararescue Jumper at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas. The “PJs” of the U.S. Air Force are graduates of an two-year training course, known as “the Pipeline,” which is one of the most intense training programs of any military service. The failure rate is about 80%.

Sergeant Maysey arrived in Vietnam in mid-October 1967, assigned to the 37th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron. On 9 November 1967, he was one of the crew of “Jolly Green 26,” A Sikorsky HH-3E Jolly Green Giant Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR) helicopter.

Sergeant Maysey’s remains were not recovered. His name is inscribed on the Courts of the Missing, at the Honolulu Memorial, National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific.

© 2017, Bryan R. Swopes

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Air Force Cross, Staff Sergeant Eugene Lunsford Clay, United States Air Force

Air Force Cross
Eugene Lunsford Clay

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Title 10, Section 8742, United States Code, takes pride in presenting the Air Force Cross (Posthumously) to Staff Sergeant Eugene Lunsford Clay (AFSN: 18497841), United States Air Force, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an opposing armed force as an HH-3E Flight Engineer of the 37th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron, 3d Air Rescue and Recovery Group, DaNang Air Base, Vietnam, in action in Southeast Asia on 9 November 1967. On that date, Sergeant Clay attempted the night extraction of a ground reconnaissance team after his helicopter had been severely damaged. Two other helicopters had been shot down and a third extensively damaged in previous attempts. During the rescue attempt, Sergeant Clay unhesitatingly exposed himself to hostile fire to assist the survivors to the aircraft. The hostile forces closed in quickly, and as the damaged helicopter departed, it was shot down. Through his extraordinary heroism, superb airmanship, and aggressiveness in the face of hostile forces, Staff Sergeant Clay reflected the highest credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.

Action Date: November 9, 1967

Service: Air Force

Battalion: 37th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron

Regiment: 3d Air Rescue and Recovery Group

Division: DaNang Air Base, Vietnam

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Air Force Cross, Captain Ralph Wayne Brower, United States Air Force

Air Force Cross
Ralph Wayne Brower

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Title 10, Section 8742, United States Code, takes pride in presenting the Air Force Cross (Posthumously) to Captain Ralph Wayne Brower (AFSN: 0-3109303), United States Air Force (Reserve), for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an opposing armed force as an HH-3E pilot of the 37th Aero Space Rescue and Recovery Squadron, 3d Air Rescue and Recovery Group, DaNang Air Base, Vietnam, in action in Southeast Asia on 9 November 1967. On that date, captain Brower attempted the night extraction of a ground reconnaissance team. Despite full knowledge that two helicopters had been shot down and a third severely damaged by intense, accurately directed hostile fire, Captain Brower, with determination, indomitable courage, and profession skill, established a hover on a steep slope within one hundred yards of hostile weapons positions and brought the wounded survivors aboard. The hostile forces closed in quickly, and as the helicopter departed, it was shot down. Through his extraordinary heroism, superb airmanship, and aggressiveness in the face of hostile forces, Captain Brower reflected the highest credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.

Action Date: November 9, 1967

Service: Air Force

Battalion: 37th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron

Regiment: 3d Air Rescue and Recovery Group

Division: DaNang Air Base, Vietnam

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3 November 1962

The French fishing trawler F/V Jeane Gougy aground at at Land’s End, Cornwall, England, 3 November 1962. (Royal Maritime Museum)

3 November 1962: The French fishing trawler F/V Jeanne Gougy with a crew of 18 ran aground during a storm at Armored Knight Rock, Land’s End, Cornwall, England. 15-foot waves rolled the ship over on its port side. The seamen were trapped aboard the wreck.

The waves prevented the life boat from the Royal National Life Boat Institution (RNLI) Sennen Cove Lifeboat Station was unable to approach the wreck because of the heavy weather, but recovered two dead fishermen offshore.

A Westland Whirlwind HAR.10 helicopter from No. 22 Squadron’s Search and Rescue Detachment at RAF Chivenor on the north coast of Devon was assigned to attempt a rescue. The Whirlwind was flown by Flight Lieutenants John Lorimer Neville Canham, D.F.C., and Flight Lieutenant John Trevor Egginton, with winch operator Sergeant Eric Charles Smith.

Westland Whirlwind HAR.10, No. 22 Squadron, hoists survivors from the wreck of F/V Jeanne Goudy, 3 November 1962.

Sergeant Smith was lowered into the sea to recover another body, which was then hoisted aboard the helicopter. The Sennen Cove lifeboat and the Whirlwind returned to their respective bases.

Later that morning, observers from the shore saw several men inside the Jeanne Gougy‘s pilot house. A helicopter and the Penlee lifeboat, Soloman Brown, hurried to the scene, but conditions were still too extreme for a lifeboat to approach the trawler.

The helicopter hovered over the capsized fishing trawler while Sergeant Smith was lowered to the ship’s pilot house. A rescue line was also rigged to the nearby rocks. Sergeant Smith rigged two men for hoisting to the hovering helicopter and continued searching for additional survivors. Four sailors were rescued by the line to the shore. Twelve of the fishermen did not survive.

Westland Whirlwind HAR.10, No. 22 Squadron, hoists a man from the fishing trawler F/V Jeanne Gougy at Armoured Knight Rock, Land’s End, Cornwall, England, 3 November 1962. (RNLI Penlee Lifeboat Station)
Sergeant Eric Smith, RAF, is lowered to the wreck of F/V Jeanne Gougy, 3 November 1962. (BFI)
A crewman is transferred from F/V Jeanne Gougy to the cliffs by breeches buoy. (RNLI Penlee Lifeboat Station)

For his bravery during the rescue, Sergeant Smith was awarded the George Medal by Queen Elizabeth II. He was also awarded the Silver Medal of the Société des Hospitalers Sauveteurts Bretons.

The Président de la République française, Charles de Gaulle, conferred the honor of Chevalier du Mérite Maritime on Flight Lieutenant Canham, Flight Lieutenant Egginton and Sergeant Smith.

On 13 June 1964,  Flight Lieutenant John Trevor Egginton was awarded the Air Force Cross.

Wreck of the fishing trawler F/V Jeanne Gougy at Land’s End, 3 November 1962. (RNLI Penlee Lifeboat Station)

The Westland Whirlwind was a license-built variant of the Sikorsky S-55. The HAR.10 was a dedicated search-and-rescue helicopter, powered by a 1,050 shaft horsepower de Havilland Engine Co., Ltd., Gnome H.1000 (Mk.101). The engine was based on the General Electric T58-G-6 turboshaft.

A No. 22 Squadron Westland Whirlwind HAR.10, XP351, hovers during a winch exercise at RAF Thorney Island, 10 July 1964. (Graham P.)

© 2018, Bryan R. Swopes

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