Charles H. Pitman’s Silver Star citation

THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

ESTABLISHED BY AN ACT OF CONGRESS 9 JULY 1918 (AMENDED BY ACT OF 25 JULY 1963) AND AWARDED BY THE
PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

SILVER STAR MEDAL

PRESENTED TO
MAJOR CHARLES HENRY PITMAN
UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star to Major Charles Henry Pitman (MCSN: 0-69426), United States Marine Corps, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action while serving as a Pilot with Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron TWO HUNDRED SIXTY-FIVE (HMM-265), Marine Aircraft Group Sixteen, FIRST Marine Aircraft Wing, in connection with combat operations against insurgent communist (Viet Cong) forces in the Republic of Vietnam. On 8 April 1967, Major Pitman led a section of two CH-46A transport helicopters and two UH-1E gunships on a night emergency extraction of a sixteen man reconnaissance team which was temporarily pinned down by intense enemy fire in mountainous terrain south of DaNang. Despite darkness and extremely adverse weather conditions, he expeditiously located the landing zone which was situated on a ridge line and marked by two strobe lights. On his first approach into the hazardous area, Major Pitman skillfully maneuvered his helicopter into a cloud mass but was forced to abort his landing attempt when he was warned by his crew chief of the proximity of the aircraft to a mountainside directly to his front. Undaunted, he commenced a second approach into the small landing zone, guided only by an intermittent strobe light and flare illumination. After performing five minutes of extremely difficult aircraft maneuvers, he safely landed his helicopter in the area. Due to the configuration of the landing zone, only the rear wheels of the aircraft were touching the ground with the front of the aircraft hanging over a forty foot cliff. Deciding to extract the entire team rather than subject another aircraft to the hazardous situation, he jettisoned fuel to lighten his aircraft, while he skillfully hovered the helicopter until all sixteen Marines were safely embarked. As he maneuvered his heavily burdened aircraft down the side of the steep mountainside to gain air speed, he came under intense enemy small arms and automatic weapons fire. Although his aircraft was hit several times, Major Pitman expertly lifted from the hazardous zone and proceeded to the Marble Mountain Air Facility. His exceptional aeronautical skill and unwavering determination were instrumental in accomplishing an extremely hazardous mission and undoubtedly saved the lives of the Marines. By his extraordinary courage, bold initiative and selfless devotion to duty, Major Pitman upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and of the United States Naval Service.


Enlisted in the Naval Reserve while still in high school… Earned a commission with the Marine Corps at 19… Flew reconnaissance missions near North Korea, Dominican Republic, Cuba, China, and the Soviet Union… Flew three combat tours in Vietnam and was forced down seven times… Decorations include four Distinguished Flying Crosses, Bronze Star with Combat “V,” 65 Air Medals, and the Purple Heart… When a man went on a killing spree in New Orleans in 1972, took off — without orders — with police officers to end the crisis… Flew an RH-53 helicopter during Operation EAGLE CLAW, the 1980 Iran Hostage Crisis rescue attempt… Served 38 years, retiring as a lieutenant general in 1990… Passed: 13 February 2020

More biographical info available here: http://epnaao.com/BIOS_files/REGULARS/Pitman-%20Charles%20H.pdf

Author: Real American Heroes

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