Richard W. Doust

The President of the United States takes great pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Flying Cross to First Lieutenant Richard W. Doust for heroism and extraordinary achievement in aerial flight while serving with Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 263, Marine Aircraft Group Sixteen, First Marine Aircraft Wing in connection with combat operations against the enemy in the Republic of Vietnam. Late on the nightof 23 February 1969, First Lieutenant Doust launched as Copilot aboard a CH-46 tansport helicopter assigned the emergency medical evacuation of nine casualties from a Marine unit heavily engaged with a hostile force northwest of Hill 10 in Quang Nam Province. Arriving at the designated area, he established contact with the ground unit and was informed that one of the wounded men was in critical condition and required immediate extraction, that the landing zone was only thirty feet wide and was surrounded by tall trees, and that the aircraft which had previously attempted the evacuation was forced to abort its mission because of the intensity of enemy fire. Undaunted by the darkness, hazardous terrain, and extremely heavy volume of hostile small arms and automatic weapons fire directed against his helicopter, First Lieutenant Doust maintained continuous communications with Marine supporting gunships and a flareship and skillfully monitored his gauges to provide a continuous flow of vital information which enabled his CH-46 to land in the fire-swept zone. Ignoring the enemy rounds impacting in the area and the extensive damae sustained by the aircraft from the hostile fire, he fearlessly aided in maintaining his helicopter in its dangerously exposed position until the casualties were embarked. Assisting at the controls and reporting clearance information, he aided his pilot in utilizing a maximum power lift-off and evasive maneuvers as the aircraft departed the dangerous area. After reporting that the extent of damage precluded a flight to DaNang, First Lieutenant Doust diligently manned his instruments and equipment to provide the flight data which enabled his pilot to maneuver the crippled aircraft to the First Medical Battalion site west of DaNang. First Lieutenant Doust’s courage, superior airmanshp and unwavering devotion to duty in the face of great personal danger were instrumental in the accomplishment of the hazardous mission and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and of the United States Naval Service.