Nets Pilot Silver Star
A Marine helicopter pilot, who was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross here in July, was presented the nation's third highest decoration for heroism during a ceremony here October 1.
Captain Richard P. Hardin, training officer for SOES, received the Silver Star Medal from Brigadier General Robert F. Conley, COMCABEast.
Captain Hardin was cited for his "conspicuous gallantry and intrepi- dity in action" while serving with HMM-364, MAG-36, 1st Maw, in the Republic of Vietnam.
On the afternoon of February 7, 1969, Captain Hardin, a First Lieutenant at that time, took off as wingman in a flight of two CH-46 transport helicopters. The mission involved the emergency evacuation of casualties from a unit that was heavily engaged with a hostile force in Quang Nam Province.
Sustaining extensive battle damage when it came under intense enemy fire, the lead aircraft crashed in enemy controlled territory.
Setting the scene for First Lieutenant Hardin's "conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action" was a heavy overcast and rain which severely limited visibility, and an extremely heavy volume of hostile small arms, automatic weapons and machin e gun fire. "First Lieutenant Hardin, " the citation relates, "fearlessly maneuvered his helicopter in an approach to the crash site. He approached the crash site to deter- mine the fate of the crew."
He was forced to abort his first approach due to the intensity of the enemy fire. On his second approach to report the location of the helicopter, "First Lieutenant Hardin completely disregarded his own safety as he resolutely maneuvered his plane through the hail of hostile enemy fire."
When a friendly force reached the downed aircraft and reported the need for equipment to free two survivors pinned in the wreckage, First Lieutenant Hardin is praised for proceeding to DaNang, embarking rescue equipment and personnel, and quickly returning to the crash site.
When a Marine in the ground force was seriously wounded and requir- ed immediate removal, First Lieutenant Hardin volunteered to re-enter the perilous area. In this task he is commended for, "skillfully exe- cuting a high-sped approach through the intense hostile fire, landing in the dangerous area, embarking the injured man a nd departing for the nearest medical facility."
In addition to the Silver Star and Distinguished
Flying Cross, Captain Hardin holds 37 Air Medals.
News article provided by:
Stephanie Hanson, Daughter of Hn Gary Norman Young
Crew of YK-11
|1stLt. Richard P. Hardin||Pilot|
|1stLt. Samuel J. Ware||Copilot|
|Cpl. James H. Bandish||Crew Chief|
|LCpl Ronald J. Lamoree||Gunner|
|Sgt. John F. Gruenewald||Gunner|
After Action Report
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