CAPT Frank E. Wilson USMC

navy cross

The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting
Captain Frank E. Wilson, United States Marine Corps
For service as set forth in the following


The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to Frank E. Wilson (0-24941), Captain, U.S. Marine Corps, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy of the United Nations while serving as a Helicopter Pilot in Marine Observation Squadron SIX (VMO-6), during the rescue of three downed airmen in enemy-held territory north of Hwachon Reservoir, Korea, on 13 April 1951. Although keenly aware that another helicopter had been shot down together with its two-man crew in an endeavor to rescue a downed pilot behind enemy lines, Captain Wilson unhesitatingly volunteered to fly his unarmed, extremely vulnerable aircraft into an area occupied by thousands of hostile troops in a brave attempt to bring back the three airmen, and carried out the mission alone to afford sufficient passenger space for the return journey. Flying at a dangerously low altitude through intense hostile ground fire, he skillfully maneuvered his aircraft into position over the men isolated in a deep ravine and, despite their frantic signals imploring him to leave the enemy-infested area, boldly lowered the hoist and hauled one of them into the helicopter. Realizing that further rescue attempts by this method were almost impossible in view of the turbulent winds and rugged terrain, Captain Wilson searched the area at tree-top level until he located a minute clearing and, although raked by fierce antiaircraft and small-arms fire from the rapidly closing enemy troops, hovered with one wheel touching the uneven ground while the two remaining men climbed aboard the helicopter. Unable to gain sufficient altitude to climb over the high ridges enclosing the area, he flew a distance of approximately 15 miles through the narrow valley in the face of withering hostile machine-gun and antiaircraft fire, returning safe to base in complete darkness with less than five minutes of fuel remaining. By his outstanding courage, brilliant airmanship and selfless efforts in behalf of others at the risk of his own life, Captain Wilson upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

Return to Navy Cross