Citation to Accompany the Award ofThe Air Force Cross
William H. Pitsenbarger
Airman First Class William H. Pitsenbarger distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an opposing armed force near Cam My, Republic of Vietnam, on 11 April 1966. On that date, Airman Pitsenbarger was a Rescue and Survival Specialist aboard a helicopter engaged in the evacuation of American casualties in a dense jungle. With complete disregard for personal safety, Airman Pitsenbarger voluntarily rode a rescue hoist more than one hundred feet to the ground and organized and coordinated rescue efforts at the scene. During the rescue operation, he cared for and prepared the casualties for evacuation and ensured the recovery operation continued in a smooth and orderly fashion. Following the recovery of the ninth casualty the rescue aircraft hovering overhead was damaged and disabled by automatic weapons fire. The helicopter was forced to abandon recovery efforts to make an emergency landing at a nearby airstrip. Airman Pitsenbarger volunteered to remain on the ground and administer medical treatment to the wounded. Shortly after rescue efforts were interrupted, the area came under sniper and mortar fire, Airman Pitsenbarger repeatedly
exposed himself to intensive automatic fire while gathering rifles and ammunition from fallen comrades which he passed among the defenders. His bravery and determination in the face of overwhelming odds are in keeping with the highest standards of performance and traditions of the American fighting man under attack. The extraordinary heroism and aggressiveness of Airman Pitsenbarger reflect the highest credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.