William R. Dutting

Petty Officer William R. Dutting is awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for heroism while participating in aerial flight on 8 May 1970. Petty Officer Dutting, as the left door gunner in the lead aircraft of an attack helicopter fire team attached to Helicopter Attack (Light) Squadron Three, was scrambled to assist a patrol boat which was surrounded by a large enemy force in Cambodia. His fire team entered unfamiliar country on a black rainy night under instrument conditions. The patrol boat was still under a savage automatic weapons and rocket attack from both banks of the river as the fire team arrived overhead. It was impossible to determine the outline of the river or the target location due to the weather and darkness. Petty Officer Dutting bravely and selflessly attacked with devastating and accurate machine gun fire as his aircraft commander turned on his landing lights to illuminate and identify the target, thereby drawing the enemy’s fire from the boat unit. Using this tactic the fire team placed accurate fire into the enemy positions, at times within 20 meters of the boat. After each attack, Petty Officer Dutting aided his aircraft commander in relocating the target and attacked with machine gun fire as his aircraft’s landing lights were turned on. The fire team continued to use this tactic until all enemy fire was suppressed and the patrol boat was able to withdraw safely. Petty Offier Dutting’s heroic actions in the face of intense enemy fire saved the boat unit from certain destruction and the loss of many lives. His performance was in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.