Edward C. Desaussure

The President of the United States takes great pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Flying Cross to Captain Edward C. DeSaussure for heroism and extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight while serving as a Pilot with Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 265, Marine Aircraft Group Sixteen, First Marine Aircraft Wing in connection with operations against the enemy in the Republic of Vietnam. On 12 May 1968, Captain DeSaussure launched as Wingman in a section of two CH-46 transport helicopters assigned to assist in the emergency evacuation of personnel from the United States Army Special Forces Camp at Kham Duc, which was in imminent danger of being overrun by a numerically superior North Vietnamese Army force. Arriving over the designated area, Captain DeSaussure was briefed by the ground unit and commenced an approach to the zone. Despite automatic weapons and mortar fire, he executed a landing, embarked numerous troops and, by jettisoning fuel to lighten the heavily loaded aircraft, was able to lift out of the zone and transport the troops to a secure area. Quickly returning to the besieged camp, Captain DeSaussure unhesitatingly maneuvered his aircraft into the fire-swept zone, embarked a maximum number of friendly soldiers and safely departed the area. After disembarking his passengers and refueling his aircraft, he led his flight back to Kham Duc and was approaching the zone through a heavy volume of hostile fire when a nearby ammunition dump suddenly exploded, filling the air with smoke and debris and forcing him to abort his landing. Although his aircraft was severely damaged by enemy fire and fragments from the explosion, he safely maneuvered his helicopter to An Hoa. Captain DeSaussure’s courage, exceptional aeronautical skill and unwavering devotion to duty at great personal risk contributed significantly to the accomplishment of the mission and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and of the United States Naval Service.