Daniel A. Ellison

The President of the United States takes great pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Flying Cross to Lieutenant Commander Daniel A. Ellison for heroism while participating in aerial flight on 8 January 1982 as Mission Commander and pilot of a UH-1N helicopter assigned to Naval Air Station, Lemoore, California. Lieutenant Commander Ellison and his crew launched on a search mission for a civil aircraft missing five days in the Sierra Nevada mountains. Despite low probability of locating the aircraft in the snow-covered terrain, Lieutenant Commander Ellison diligently pursued his mission by maintaining his crew at a high state of alertness. His efforts led to the sighting of a barely visible portion of the aircraft wreckage on a steep slope at an elevation of 11,000 feet. Unable to hover over the crash scene because of aircraft weight and high altitude, Lieutenant Commander Ellison directed his aircraft and crew to a nearby landing zone where he dispatched a ground party to approach the wreckage. When informed of a lone survivor, a 10 year-old boy, Lieutenant Commander Ellison immediately flew to the scene. He expertly maneuvered to a position over the wreckage and attained a stable hover despite a near-total lack of visual reference. He maintained this hover for 10 minutes under conditions of severe turbulence and poor visibility while a rescue aircrewman was lowered via hoist to effect recovery of the survivor. Lieutenant Commander Ellison’s unfailing determination, courage, and skilled airmanship under the most demanding flight conditions reflected great credit upon himself and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.