The Air Medal


           The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the   AIR MEDAL (Bronze Star for the First Award) to



for service as set forth in the following


          "For heroic achievement in aerial flight while serving with Marine  Medium  Helicopter   Squadron  364,   Marine  Aircraft  Group  Sixteen, First  Marine  Aircraft Wing  in connection  with operations  against  the enemy in  the Republic of  Vietnam.  On  the  morning  of  17 December  1968,  Sergeant Herbin  launched as an  Aerial Gunner  aboard a  CH-46 transport  helicopter  assigned  to  insert elements  of  a  Marine  infantry battalion  into enemy controlled territory east of  An Hoa in Quang Nam Province.  Arriving over the designated area,  the aircraft commenced  its approach to  the landing zone and came under a heavy volume of hostile fire.  Undaunted  by the  intense  enemy  fire,  Sergeant Herbin  delivered suppressive .50 caliber  machine gun fire upon  the enemy emplacements, enabling his aircraft to land in the hazardous site,  debark its passengers, and depart  the  area.  During  four  additional  insertions of  the  Marine unit,  he continued  to effectively  employ his  weapon against  the enemy and was instrumental in  the successful accomplishment of the hazardous mission.  Sergeant  Herbin's  courage,  resolute  determination and stead- fast  devotion to  duty in  the face of  great personal  danger  inspired  all who observed him and  were in keeping with  the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and of the United States Naval Service.


/S/  H. W. Buse, Jr.



After Action Reports for 17 December 1968 reflect this mission (Mission #55) consisted of four CH-46 transports that departed Marble Mountain Air Facility at 0750.  The pick up point for all infantry troops was AT898464, a spot about 2,000 meters east of An Hoa Combat Support Base.  The insertion point for all was AT962553, the southern bank of the Song Thu Bon (river) which was commonly known as the Hoi An River since it flowed eastward to the coastal town of Hoi An.  The flight made three trips into this hot zone with 15 troops each time.  The flight refueled at An Hoa Combat Base and delivered another two sorties of troops into the landing zone.  After Action Reports indicate enemy fire was received by all aircraft on each of the five trips to the zone.  A total of 300 infantry troops were inserted and the aerial gunners expended 6,100 rounds of .50 caliber ammunition.  No information on the gun ships that supported them.  The flight returned to Marble Mountain Air Facility at 1110. 

Aircraft and Crews of the Mission

Swift 1-1, YK-2
Swift 1-2, YK-19
Maj. E. W. Graham Pilot Maj. Owen C. Baker Pilot
1stLt. Carmine A. Casciano Copilot 1st Lt. Donald E. Macharg Copilot
Cpl. George W. Wharton, III Crew Chief Rank F & M Wallace Crew Chief
Cpl. Lenny L. Lasac Gunner Sgt. Ronald E. Clemons Gunner
Sgt. Dolph Quijano, Jr. Gunner Cpl. Stephen E. Russo Gunner
. . .
After Action Report #1
After Action Report #2
Swift 1-3, YK-7
Swift 1-4, YK-26
Maj. Ernest C. Cunningham Pilot 1stLt. John J. Brennan Pilot
1stLt. Robert W. Armenio Copilot 1stLt. C. L. Story Copilot
Cpl. Dean A. Reiner Crew Chief LCpl. R. Mike Clausen Crew Chief
Sgt. Ralph H. Herbin Gunner Cpl. Robert H. Edwards Gunner
LCpl. Ronald L. Dion Gunner LCpl. J. R. Nelson Gunner
After Action Report #3
After Action Report #4


Dean A. Reiner, Crew Chief of YK-7, states that a wingman thought YK-7 was on
fire for a moment due to the smoke emanating from the .50 caliber rounds being
pumped out by Sgt. Ralph H. Herbin and LCpl. Ronald L. Dion

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