ADJ-3 Barry Robert Waluda, USN

 

The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting
The SILVER STAR MEDAL to
BARRY ROBERT WALUDA, AVIATION MACHINIST’S MATE J THIRD CLASS, UNITED STATES NAVY
for service as set forth in the following
CITATION

“For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action while serving with Helicopter Attack (Light) Squadron THREE, Detachment THREE on 14 September 1968. Petty Officer WALUDA was serving as crew chief/gunner in the lead aircraft of a light fire team, when the team was scrambled to support United States Naval forces which were under heavy attack on the Mekong River in Vinh Long Province. Upon arrival at the scene, the fire team immediately came under intense automatic weapons, crew served machine guns and B-40 type rocket fire. The team disregarded this intense fire and pressed their attacks on the entrenched enemy positions. Petty Officer WALUDA continually exposed himself to the intense fire in order to deliver heavy and accurate return fire from his M-60 machine gun.    His heavy suppressing fire succeeded in silencing several enemy firing positions as he provided cover for his own aircraft and the wing ship. As   the fire team was preparing to return to base to rearm, an urgent call was received from the damaged YFR-866 for a MEDEVAC helicopter to evacuate a critically injured crew member.  Petty Officer WALUDA calmly continued to deliver heavy suppressing fire on the numerous enemy firing positions as the plane commander made his approach to the bow of the maneuvering ship. With complete disregard for his own personal safety, Petty Officer WALUDA released his safety belt and climbed out onto the landing skid of the helicopter to assist the loading of the critically wounded man. Although almost thrown from his precarious perch several times, he maintained this exposed position until the injured man was safely aboard the helicopter. While returning to his position in the helicopter, he noticed the landing skid of the hovering helicopter dangerously entangled in the ship’s bow guard railing.  Remaining in his exposed position he calmly directed the pilot clear of the disastrous entanglement. The fire team delivered two more decisive strikes on the enemy ambush site and succeeded in completely silencing all of the enemy fire.  Petty Officer WALUDA’s heroic actions, sense of respon­sibility and devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.”

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