CAPT Thomas C. McDonald USMCR

navy cross

The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting
Captain Thomas C. McDonald, 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 Thomas C. McDonald (0-92570), Captain, U.S. Marine Corps (Reserve), for extraordinary heroism on the night of 28 March 1971 while serving as a pilot in Marine Light Helicopter Squadron ONE HUNDRED SIXTY-SEVEN, Marine Aircraft Group SIXTEEN, First Marine Aircraft Wing, during operations against enemy forces in the Republic of Vietnam. Assigned the mission of supporting a company-sized defense force which was heavily engaged in combat with two enemy battalions in a village southwest of DaNang, Captain McDonald launched as helicopter aircraft commander and maneuvered beneath low cloud cover at search altitude until he located a large concentration of enemy soldiers. Unhesitatingly, he directed his spotlight upon the hostile force and immediately came under intense fire. Disregarding his own safety, he continued to illuminate the enemy position while simultaneously directing the fire of the supporting gunships. Following the destruction of the target, Captain McDonald once more orbited the area in search of enemy positions, skillfully darting into the clouds when hostile fire was concentrated on his helicopter. On two separate occasions he exposed himself to extremely heavy fire while illuminating targets and directing the fire of accompanying gunships. Throughout a period of approximately forty-five minutes, he directed the supporting aircraft in attacks which forced the enemy into a disorganized retreat. After refueling his helicopter, Captain McDonald returned to the scene of battle and trained his spotlight on enemy troops boarding six boats on a river shore. He then directed gunship attacks in destroying all six craft. By his superior airmanship, great personal courage, and inspiring leadership, Captain McDonald was instrumental in the decisive defeat of a sizeable enemy force. His performance was in keeping with the finest traditions of the Marine Corps and of the United States Naval Service.


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