1/LT Joseph P. Donovan USMCR

navy cross

The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting
First Lieutenant Joseph P. Donovan, United States Marine Corps Reserve
For service as set forth in the following


The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to Joseph P. Donovan (101008), First Lieutenant, U.S. Marine Corps (Reserve), for extraordinary heroism while serving as a Pilot with Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron THREE HUNDRED SIXTY-FOUR (HMM-364), Marine Aircraft Group SIXTEEN, First Marine Aircraft Wing, in the Republic of Vietnam on 22 February 1969. First Lieutenant Donovan launched as Wingman in a flight of two CH-46 transport helicopters assigned the emergency medical evacuation of a seriously wounded Marine from an area north of the Nam O Bridge in Quang Nam Province. When the section leader’s aircraft experienced mechanical difficulties and returned to its base, First Lieutenant Donovan resolutely elected to continue the mission. Approaching the designated area, he observed a hostile rocket launching site and dispatched his gunships to destroy the emplacement. When informed that the injured Marine was in a critical condition, First Lieutenant Donovan, undaunted by the extremely heavy volume of enemy fire and lacking gunship support, fearlessly maneuvered to a landing on the fire-swept area and embarked the casualty. Wounded by fragments from hostile grenades and mortar rounds which also severely damaged his helicopter and caused it to vibrate violently as it lifted out of the zone, he ignored his painful injuries as he fought to regain control of the CH-46 and then skillfully maneuvered it to the nearest medical facility. After receiving medical attention and ascertaining that his aircraft was operable, he boldly launched on a second emergency medical evacuation mission and again entered an extremely hazardous area, without gunship support, to take the wounded to a medical facility. Informed that eight seriously injured Marines in another area required immediate evacuation, First Lieutenant Donovan unhesitatingly proceeded to the site, coordinated his approach with gunship fire, and landed in the perilous zone. He resolutely remained in his dangerously exposed position until all the casualties were embarked, and then lifted out of the area. As he began to depart, he learned that additional casualties had been brought to the landing zone, two of whom were in critical condition. With complete disregard for his own safety, he again braved the heavy volume of enemy fire and landed in the fire-swept area, embarked the wounded Marines, and departed to the nearest medical facility. By his courage, superior airmanship and unwavering devotion to duty in the face of great personal danger, First Lieutenant Donovan was instrumental in the accomplishment of the hazardous mission and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.


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