Alan J. Billings

The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Flying Cross to Lieutenant (junior grade) Alan James Billings, United States Naval Reserve, for heroism and extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight in support of a U.S. Navy SEAL unit on 11 October 1968.  With one aircraft of his two plane light helicopter fire team in a down status, Lieutenant (junior grade) Billings launched single ship into the moonless, overcast night to aid a SEAL Unit that was pinned down by heavy enemy automatic weapons fire.  Once in the area, he located the friendly position by radio and a blinking red light and commenced his attack on three houses from which the SEALs were receiving fire.  After two passes with rockets and machine guns, all three houses were destroyed.  However, both the SEALs and the gunship then came under heavy fire from a nearby wood line.  Again, Lieutenant (junior grade) Billings’ precision attacks silenced the enemy.  He continued the heavy suppressive fire long enough for a “Slick” helicopter to arrive on scene and evacuate the SEAL Unit. Lieutenant (junior grade) Billings’ selfless devotion to duty, courage under fire and outstanding professionalism were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.