Citation to Accompany the Award ofThe Air Force Cross
Dennis M. Richardson
The President of the United Sates of America, authorized by Title 10, Section 8742, United States Code, awards the Air Force Cross to Sergeant Dennis M. Richardson for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an opposing armed force as Flight Engineer of an HH-3E Jolly Green rescue helicopter in Southeast Asia on 14 March 1968. On that date, Sergeant Richardson flew two sorties in an effort to rescue United States Air Force pilots who were surrounded by enemy troops along the Ho Chi Minh Trail. During the initial rescue attempt another helicopter had been driven off and Sergeant Richardson's helicopter had itself sustained significant battle damage. Despite their situation, and with complete disregard for their own safety, Sergeant Richardson and his crew elected to return and make a second rescue attempt. Coming to a hover 10 feet above the survivor's position, Sergeant Richardson stood fully exposed in the helicopter door and began lowering the jungle penetrator with one hand while gripping his M-60 machine gun with the other. Unknown to anyone, the enemy had occupied the area but held their fire, waiting to ambush the helicopter. Suddenly intense enemy
fire erupted from all quadrants, resulting in additional damage to "Jolly Green 22" and wounding Sergeant Richardson. In an extraordinary display of courage and valor, Sergeant Richardson, despite his wounds, leaned far outside to lay down an effective blanket of defensive fire which enabled the pilot to maneuver safely out of the area. The selfless actions of Sergeant Richardson undoubtedly saved his helicopter and crew from certain disaster. Through his extraordinary heroism, superb airmanship, and aggressiveness in the face of a determined enemy, Sergeant Richardson reflected the highest credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.