Robert M. Austin

The President of the United States takes great pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Flying Cross to Warrant Officer Robert M. Austin for heroism while participating in aerial flight evidenced by voluntary actions above and beyond the call of duty. Warrant Officer Austin distinguished himself by exceptionally valorous actions while serving as the Aircraft Commander of a cobra gunship with F Troop 8th Cavalry. Warrant Officer Austin’s aircraft was part of an air cavalry team conducting a reconnaissance operation in western Thua Thien Province. The light observation helicopter of the team was shot down by intense hostile fire. The Observer/Door Gunner was killed, and the Pilot was badly burned when the helicopter crashed. With complete disregard for his own safety, Warrant Officer Austin began making low level passes over the downed aircraft while placing devastating fire upon the hostile positions. Continuing to fly at tree top level, maneuvering his aircraft through a barrage of hostile fire, Warrant Officer Austin provided cover fire for the other aircraft of a quickly organized inter-service rescue team. Continuing to expose himself to the NVA force’s fire, Warrant Officer Austin helped vector U.S. Air Force rescue elements into the crash site. The badly wounded Pilot of the light observation helicopter was extracted and evacuated to a medical facility. Warrant Officer Austin’s actions have shown a personal heroism, professional competence, and devotion to duty which are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.