Citation to Accompany the Award ofThe Air Force Cross
Duane D. Hackney
Airman Second Class Duane D. Hackney distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an opposing armed force as a Paramedic on an unarmed HH-3E Rescue Helicopter near Mu Gia Pass, North Vietnam, on 6 February 1967. On that date, Airman Hackney flew two sorties in a rescue effort of an American pilot downed in a heavily defended hostile area. On the first sortie, despite the presence of armed forces known to be hostile, entrenched in the vicinity, Airman Hackney volunteered to be lowered into the jungle to search for the survivor. He searched until the controlling Search and Rescue agency ordered an evacuation of the rescue forces. On the second sortie, Airman Hackney located the downed pilot, who was hoisted into the helicopter. As the rescue pilot departed the area, intense and accurate 37mm flak tore into the helicopter amidship, causing extensive damage and a raging fire aboard the craft. With complete disregard for his own safety, Airman Hackney fitted his parachute to the rescued man. In this moment of impending disaster, Airman Hackney chose to place his responsibility to the survivor above his own life. The courageous Paramedic located
another parachute for himself and had just slipped his arms through the harness when a second 37mm struck the crippled aircraft, sending it out of control. The force of the explosion blew Airman Hackney through the open cargo door and, though stunned, he managed to deploy the unbuckled parachute and make a successful landing. He was later recovered by a companion helicopter. Through his extraordinary heroism, superb airmanship, and aggressiveness in the face of hostile forces, Airman Hackney reflected the highest credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.