Citation to Accompany the Award ofThe Air Force Cross
Richard L. Etchberger
Chief Master Sergeant Richard L. Etchberger distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an opposing armed force on 11 March 1968. On this date, Sergeant Etchberger was manning a defensive position when the base was overrun by an enemy ground force. The enemy was able to deliver sustained and withering fire directly upon this position from higher ground. His entire crew dead or wounded, Sergeant Etchberger continued to return the enemy's fore thus denying them access to his position. During this entire period, Sergeant Etchberger continued to direct air strikes and call fro Air Rescue on his emergency radio, thereby enabling the air evacuation force to locate the surrounded friendly element. When Air Rescue arrived, Sergeant Etchberger deliberately exposed himself to enemy fire in order to place his three surviving wounded comrades in the rescue slings permitting them to be airlifted to safety. As Sergeant Etchberger was finally being rescued, he was fatally wounded by enemy ground fire, his fierce defense which culminated in the supreme sacrifice of his life, saved not only the lives of his three comrades but provided for the successful
evacuation of the remaining survivors of the base. Through his extraordinary heroism, superb airmanship, and aggressiveness in the face of the enemy, Sergeant Etchberger reflected the highest credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.