GSGT Leroy N. Poulson USMC

navy cross

The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting
Gunnery Sergeant Leroy N. Poulson, 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 Leroy N. Poulson (1209285), Gunnery Sergeant, U.S. Marine Corps, for extraordinary heroism while serving as a Gunner of a UH-1E Helicopter attached to Marine Observation Squadron SIX (VMO-6), Marine Aircraft Group SIXTEEN, First Marine Aircraft Wing, near Quang Ngai, Republic of Vietnam, on 19 August 1967. While conducting an assigned mission, Gunnery Sergeant Poulson’s aircraft monitored an emergency transmission giving the approximate location of four Army personnel from a downed helicopter. The UH-1 E crew diverted to the site and arrived to find the soldiers in the midst of an estimated 30 to 40 Viet Cong who were bayoneting and beating them with rifle butts. They began a series of low level machine-gun and rocket attacks, and the Viet Cong scattered and withdrew to a tree line. They made another low pass over the Army personnel and observed one man raise his arm in a gesture for help. Unhesitatingly, the UH-1E landed on the beach between the wounded men and the Viet Cong, who were now firing furiously at the aircraft. Gunnery Sergeant Poulson leaped out of the aircraft and raced to the side of the nearest soldier. Unassisted, and through a hail of enemy fire, he moved the man to the helicopter. With complete disregard for his personal safety and in the midst of heavy enemy fire, he ran to the second man, and because of his weight, was unable to move him. At this time the copilot joined him, and the two of them managed to get the man safely aboard the aircraft. The Viet Cong began to appear all around the aircraft as he made another attempt to rescue the third man. Because of the man’s size, it took three crew members to move him. Upon placing the wounded man in the helicopter, Gunnery Sergeant Poulson made another attempt to rescue the fourth man. Upon reaching his side, under a heavy volume of fire, he discovered the man had succumbed to his wounds, and returned to the aircraft. As the aircraft lifted, he administered first aid to the wounded until they reached a medical facility. By his daring initiative, valiant fighting spirit and selfless devotion to duty in the face of insurmountable odds, Gunnery Sergeant Poulson was responsible for saving the lives of the Army personnel and thereby upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.

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