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  • THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY
    WASHINGTON

     

        The President of the United States takes pride in presenting the NAVY COMMENDATION MEDAL with Combat "V" posthumously to

    CAPTAIN RICHARD L. BASINGER
    UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS RESERVE

    for service as set forth in the following

    CITATION:

        For heroic achievement while serving as a Helicopter Copilot with Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 363 in connection with operations against the enemy in the Republic of Vietnam on 17 September 1966. During Operation PRAIRIE, Captain (then First Lieutenant) Basinger was flying the second aircraft of a two-helicopter emergency medical evacuation mission one mile south of the Demilitarized Zone. This mission was to evacuate several Marine casualties, located in an insecure zone, exposed to fire from heavily armed North Vietnamese forces who surrounded the Marines. Arriving over the area, Captain Basinger observed the ground force to be under intense automatic weapons fire. The Section Leader attempted to approach the zone, but cleared the area because of the intense fire. Informed by the ground forces that an artillery mission was in progress, the flight went to a secure landing zone to drop its passengers and cargo. Subsequently returning to the evacuation zone, the Section Leader received heavy automatic weapons fire during both the approach and takeoff. Then, Captain Basinger's aircraft proceeded into the zone under intense fire, taking several hits in the engine. As heavy smoke poured from the aircraft, the helicopter force landed and he assisted in shutting down the engine. After assessing the damage, Captain Basinger and the crew notified the Section Leader, orbiting the zone, that they would remain with the aircraft until he could return with the necessary spare parts. When the Section Leader returned, Captain Basinger courageously exposed himself to the deadly enemy fire sweeping the area, in order to assist in repairing the damaged helicopter. Although still under intense hostile fire, he fearlessly boarded the aircraft, when repairs were completed, and assisted the pilot in starting and flying out of the zone to safety. By his heroic actions, professional competance, and loyal devotion to duty under extremely hazardous conditions, Captain Basinger was instrumental in saving the valuable helicopter. He reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the finest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

    For the President,
    Paul R. Ignatius
    Secretary of the Navy

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