LTCOL Charles Alne House USMC

navy cross

The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting
Lieutenant Colonel Charles Alne House, 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 Charles Alne House (0-26690), Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Marine Corps, for extraordinary heroism as Commanding Officer, Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron ONE HUNDRED SIXTY-THREE (HMM-163), Marine Aircraft Group SIXTEEN, First Marine Aircraft Wing, in action in the Republic of Vietnam on 9 and 10 March 1966. Colonel House’s helicopter was disabled by intense enemy fire in the landing zone at A Shau, where the garrison had been under siege for several days. After ensuring that all personnel had abandoned the aircraft, Colonel House immediately rallied his crew members and joined a group of seventy exhausted survivors of the garrison. With inspiring leadership and dogged determination, he skillfully led the group into the jungle to escape capture. Chopping a trail through the dense underbrush, he moved into the hills which surrounded the outpost, cleverly maneuvering between hostile positions and successfully evading enemy search patrols. Although the group was subjected to harassing fire throughout the march, Colonel House managed to overcome the language barrier and instill in the Vietnamese a sense of confidence and encouragement which sustained them through the ordeal. With constant concern for the welfare of the survivors, many of whom were wounded, he halted the march several times to allow them to rest, stalwartly standing watch while others slept. When helicopters were sighted and signaled on the following afternoon, Colonel House’s brilliant leadership motivated all who were able to help clear a position from which the rescue was subsequently effected. His valiant effort and determination throughout contributed in large measure to saving the members of his crew and many Special Forces and Vietnamese defenders from capture or death at the hands of the Viet Cong. By his intrepid fighting spirit, extraordinary ability as a leader, and unswerving dedication to duty, Colonel House upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.

Return to Navy Cross