James W. Fletcher

The President of the United States takes great pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Flying Cross to Specialist Four James W. Fletcher for heroism while participating in aerial flight evidenced by voluntary actions above and beyond the call of duty in the Republic of Vietnam. Specialist Four Fletcher distinguished himself on 21 March 1971 while serving as Medic of an unarmed UH-1H medical evacuation helicopter, Dustoff 942, during an emergency extraction mission in Thua Thien Province, Republic of Vietnam. Specialist Fletcher volunteered to attempt the hoist extraction despite known enemy concentrations in the area. On the first attempt to make the extraction, his aircraft was forced away by enemy fire. As the aircraft hovered for a second attempt, it was disabled by enemy fire and crashed into the steep hillside. Specialist Fletcher cut himself loose and left the now burning aircraft, sustaining serious burns. Although in intense pain he refused medical aid and avoided pursuing enemy troops to reach an open landing zone where the crew was rescued. Specialist Four Fletcher’s outstanding courage and devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.